It was only a matter of time before antitrust investigations landed on a negative ruling for
The independent CMA panel reviewing the merger has concluded that Facebook would be able to increase its already significant market power in relation to other social media platforms by:
- denying or limiting other platforms’ access to Giphy GIFs, driving more traffic to Facebook-owned sites – Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram – which already account for 73% of user time spent on social media in the UK.
- changing the terms of access by, for example, requiring TikTok, Twitter and Snapchat to provide more user data in order to access Giphy GIFs.CMA Press Release
That second point of the ruling is quite a stinging conclusion for Meta. The UK government knows Meta is in the business of sucking up every iota of users' personal information and anything they can hook into on the web and in apps. Meta can leverage Giphy's value by requiring personal information from company's users in order to get Giphy access.
In ruling that they must sell Giphy, the CMA is putting the first dent into Meta's business. What remains to be seen is whether this ruling is actually enforced. Further, would Meta only sell their UK stake of Giphy or the whole thing altogether? One thing is for sure: Facebook has never backed down from a fight. Orders are more of a suggestion to them. They will not go quietly.
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