Facebook buys GIF library Giphy for $400 million

May 15, 2020, 4:56 PM UTC

Facebook acquired Giphy, a library of video clips and animated images known as GIFs that can be attached to messages to express emotion, adding features that could encourage users to communicate through its apps.

Giphy will join the Instagram group within Facebook, according to a blog post on Friday, and the social-media giant has extended offers to more than 100 Giphy employees, a spokesperson said. The acquisition price was about $400 million, according to people familiar with the matter. Axios earlier reported the deal and its price. Facebook didn’t disclose terms.

Facebook already offers Giphy’s library of clips in its messaging products, and said owning the service outright will make it “easier for people to find the perfect GIFs and stickers” in Stories and direct messages. About 50% of Giphy’s traffic already comes from the Facebook family of apps, and half of that from Instagram alone, the company said. The talks started after money-losing Giphy reached out to Facebook a few months ago in hopes of landing an investment, then shifted to talking about an acquisition instead, according to a person familiar with the conversations, who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations.

Giphy provides GIF search functions for other apps, like Twitter and TikTok, and it will keep up those integrations — potentially giving Facebook insight into activity on competitors’ platforms. That could mean additional scrutiny from regulators for Facebook, which is currently under antitrust investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice and 47 state attorneys general.

Giphy could also help increase sharing on Facebook’s apps. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has made private messaging a priority in recent years, and eventually plans to enable messaging between all of Facebook’s services, including WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. The Menlo Park, California-based company has also spent a lot of time and money trying to encourage its almost 3 billion users to share more often with features like face filters and stickers. With users home during the coronavirus pandemic, usage of Facebook’s communications products has surged.

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