The logos of Facebook and Giphy.
Aytac Unal | Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
LONDON – Britain’s competition regulator announced on Thursday that Facebook the acquisition of the popular GIF website Giphy presents competition concerns.
the The Competition and Markets Authority declared he tentatively concluded that Facebook’s purchase of Giphy will hurt competition between social media platforms and eliminate a potential challenger in the display advertising market.
Stuart McIntosh, chairman of the independent investigative group responsible for the Phase 2 investigation, said in a statement that Facebook may pull GIFs from competing platforms or ask users to provide more data to access them.
McIntosh said the deal also removes a “potential challenger” from Facebook in the £ 5.5 billion display advertising market.
“Although our investigation revealed serious competition concerns, they are provisional,” McIntosh said.
“We will now consult on our findings before we complete our review. If we find that the merger is detrimental to the market and users of social media, we will take the necessary steps to ensure the protection of individuals. “
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.
At the time of the acquisition, Facebook said it plans to integrate Giphy more into the Instagram app “so people can find the right way to express themselves.”
Facebook has tried to play down claims that the deal could reduce competition.
“Developers and API partners will continue to have the same access to Giphy, and Giphy’s creative community will always be able to create great content,” a Facebook spokesperson said in May of last year.
“We are ready to show regulators that this acquisition is good for consumers, developers and creators of content.”