Regulators have again put the social media giant Facebook under its scanner this time over the company’s acquisition of a search engine that is often used to find GIFs of John Travolta and dumpster fires.
The Competition and Markets Authority of the United Kingdom was looking into whether Facebook’s recent acquisition of Giphy “may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services,” the body said in a statement on Friday.
According to reports, Facebook has for now halted the process of integration with Giphy globally as a response to the probe by by the regulator.
Facebook is “prepared to show regulators that this acquisition is positive for consumers, developers, and content creators alike,” said a spokesperson of the company in a statement to the media over the issue.
Announcement of acquisition of Giphy, a library of animated GIFs was made by Facebook last month. GIFs are moving images that are often used on social media to express reactions or emotions. While none of the companies had disclosed the terms and conditions of the acquisition, one report had suggested that the deal was worth $400 million.
The UK regulator deciding to probe the deal marks the second such inquiry into the acquisition. An antitrust investigation in to the deal also announced earlier this week by the Australian competition officials.
“This is not just any old GIF supplier — it’s the biggest, most important one and given that, we were surprised that we weren’t notified by Facebook of this acquisition,” said Rod Sims, the chair of Australia’s competition regulator. “If, when we look at it, we do have concerns, then we obviously need to take court action.”
With the regulators in the UK now following on the footsteps of Australian regulator, it is now being wondered whether the acquisition will now be inquired into by antitrust regulators in te United States as well.
An active, ongoing antitrust investigation of Facebook is already been conducted by the Federal Trade Commission of the US. This was disclosed by the company to its shareholders last year. The FTC is also currently evaluating completed mergers from across the tech industry in a separate study.
(Adapted from CNN.com)