Social media giant Facebook officially acquired GIPHY a few days ago. Although GIFs are popularly used on multiple social platforms, GIPHY was in a financial turmoil and ended with a lucrative $400 million buy-out deal. In recent times, virtual interaction has been made expressive, and entertaining via GIFs of dancing, tea spilling, eating, sleeping animated caricatures and celebrities.
In a blog post, Facebook welcomed GIPHY to Instagram’s team and stated that the acquisition does not disrupt GIPHY’s creative processes and its developers and API partners will continue to work as before to deliver “great” content. Vishal Shah, Instagram, said that people will also continue to share animations like before.
What does Facebook gain from GIPHY Acquisition?
GIPHY claims that approximately 700 million people use its API and library to search, post and share expressive GIFs and stickers in many applications. Therefore, Facebook gains valuable ‘user data’ from the massive deal. To stay on top in today’s competitive social industry, the company deems ‘users data’ as an asset and has invested in obtaining it via questionable means.
GIPHY on TikTok, iOS Messages, Twitter and many more
Since its release, the situational and emotional animations and stickers by GIPHY have been integrated in many popular social and messaging apps, and digital services like iMessages, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, Tinder, Snapchat, Instagram and others. These GIFs are used for to convey a range of emotions: humor, sarcasm, applaud, celebration, depression, anxiety, support, love and much more. Therefore, it rouses reasonable suspicion that Facebook could absorb user data for targeted ads and other purposes on its platform.
User Data Privacy Concerns
As @sarahfrier points out, the built-in GIF button in iMessage is Giphy. At the very least, Giphy theoretically could know what GIFs iMessage users send. Unclear if or what other data they could glean, or what their agreement with Apple is. https://t.co/lkJvfVRrqY
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) May 15, 2020
Yes, Facebook tells me they would know what gifs are being used on what apps at what frequency (bulk anonymous data, not personally identifiable)
— Sarah Frier (@sarahfrier) May 15, 2020
Having said that, there is a high probability that Facebook might change how user data is tracked via GIFs used in social and messages applications. The social network does not have a good reputation when it comes to protecting user data. Currently, the company is under federal investigation for its use of personal information of its users to gauge existing competition and device a counter strategy.
We will keep you posted on the new developments on this matter, so stay tuned to iThinkDifferent.