Competition watchdog fines Facebook £50million over Giphy takeover

Competition watchdog fines Facebook £50million over its purchase of GIF sharing platform Giphy

Facebook has been fined £50.5million for failing to provide important information to the competition regulator investigating its takeover of GIF sharing platform Giphy.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a probe into the acquisition in June last year, shortly after the deal was announced, over concerns about a ‘substantial lessening of competition’.

Giphy’s user-uploaded library of animated images is used widely by Facebook’s family of social media apps but can also be used on other platforms.

The Competition and Markets Authority launched a probe into Facebook’s takeover of GIF sharing platform Giphy acquisition in June last year

In the investigation, the social network was ordered to keep the two businesses separate until a conclusion was reached. 

The initial enforcement order (IEO) also expected Facebook to provide updates showing its compliance but the CMA said the firm had limited the scope of those updates despite repeated warnings.

‘We warned Facebook that it was a breach of the order but Facebook continued to disregard its legal obligations,’ said Joel Bamford of the CMA. 

‘This should serve as a warning to any company that thinks it is above the law.’

Facebook said: ‘We strongly disagree with the CMA’s unfair decision. We will review [it] and consider our options.’

The CMA said this is the first time one of its IEOs has been breached in this way.