back to article Perhaps regretting those Instagram, WhatsApp acquisitions, UK watchdog suggests Facebook offloads GIF haven Giphy

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority wants Facebook to sell Giphy to prevent the Silicon Valley giant from tyrannizing the happiest place on the internet: the land of GIFs. What with the EU mulling Facebook's acquisition of Kustomer, antitrust prosecutors going after Facebook in the US, and now this issue with Giphy, you …

  1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

    No it frikkin isn't.

    That is all.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: No it frikkin isn't.

      Damn right.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    It's interesting to discover the consequences, sometimes

    Who would've thought a GIF company could stir so much controversy.

    And really, Zuck, denying Pepsi its GIF ? Are you so insecure that you can't graciously let a real-world company have a GIF ? Pathetic.

    But we knew that.

  3. Curtains

    To end the debate with my family, after reading the original white paper on the GIF format 30 years ago, its pronounced as JIF... Soft G, as in Giraffe!

    1. Michael Hutchinson

      Giraffe Interchange Format

      It stands for Graphics Interchange Format, and the word Graphics has a hard G.

      If it stood for Giraffe Interchange Format then I'd agree on the soft G.

      1. Curtains

        Re: Giraffe Interchange Format

        To quote the creator of the format - "Steve Wilhite created the Graphics Interchange Format, or GIF, while working for Compuserve in 1987. On Tuesday, he received a Webby Award for it and delivered his five-word acceptance speech (that's all the Webbys allow) by flashing a GIF on the big screens at the Cipriani Wall Street in New York.

        And, in a flash, it all became clear:

        "It's pronounced JIF, not GIF.""

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Giraffe Interchange Format

          Yup! When you choose to use a GIF, your jraphics card first does the calculations, then passes the image to your monitor, so that you can show that multi-coloured line jraph you created in Excel to your jraphic design department - in order that they know which is the target demojraphic that you want to target your viral marketing GIFs at.

          1. Sgt_Oddball

            Re: Giraffe Interchange Format

            Almost as if no-one has ever mispronounced anything ever and the mispronunciation become common parlance...

            Unlike Nike, Caesar, Porsche, Dacia, Huawei, Givenchy, Nutella...

            You get the idea. Anyways. I'll continue to pronounce it GIF...........

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "mispronounced anything"


              Pronounced as a Spaniard, if you please.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    too late

    Fecalbook will have already gotten its sticky fingers on the bits of Giphy that they want. Watch out for Giphy like features appearing on FB and everything else controlled by Emperor 'see this fantastic suit' Zuck.

    The sooner FB and the rest are shut down, the sooner the mental health of their addicts... sorry users will improve.

  5. Chris G

    Anti-trust and competition regulators have been looking away from Feacebook's acquisitions for so long, they no longer know which way to turn.

    The Instagram and Wotsit purchases should never have been allowed to happen but the regulators must have been at the dentist's that day or too busy dealing with envelopes.

    Stable doors and all that!

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Im still amazed that GIFs are still a thing in 2021, back in the early days of the internet they were used as a fudge to get raster animations onto the web when no other option was available. But they are limited to 256 colours and are not optimised for file sizes.

    We have had other more suitable animated graphic formats for years such as MNG and APNG as well as WebP, I wonder why none of these have gained traction despite being technically better?

    1. Mark #255

      just because it says it's a gif...

      The "GIFs" that WhatsApp saves on an Android phone are MP4s

    2. Boothy

      I think GIF itself is mostly just a generic term now, rather than referring to an actual GIF.

      I've seen 'GIF' used quite a lot in forum posts, Reddit etc, e.g. "Here's my GIF of <subject>" etc, and it's usually a small MP4, or some other more modern format, very rarely an actually *.gif file.

      Giphy for example, whilst you can still upload actual .gif files, have supported JPG, PNG, MP4 & MOV (and a few other less common file extensions) for years now.

      But internally, I suspect Giphy converts all these to WebP files.

      i.e. Select an image, select the 'Copy Link', you see a URL and the description 'A link to the GIF image itself', and the URL does have a .gif ending. But open that and you find it's actually HTML with extras, not just the actual image, but then look at the image this time (i.e. Open image in a new tab etc), and this time it's a .webp file with no other extras.

      So even Giphy doesn't seem to use actual GIFs!

  7. Cuddles


    "is that pronounced Jiffy or?"

    Well don't leave us hanging, or what?

    1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

      Re: Or?


  8. DrXym

    Half a billion dollars!

    Giphy is just a shitty search engine wrapped around a database of gifs that they ripped off from elsewhere.

  9. Irongut

    "Animated images and stickers may not sound like a big deal. But they are. Everyone uses them still."

    Actually I stopped using Giphy the moment I heard Zuck was interested in buying them. I haven't used them since or missed them.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Thank the Goddess

    ElReg doesn't allow them.

  11. martyn.hare

    Who would buy it though?

    Facebook has a habit of open sourcing core code while leaving content proprietary. The moment Facebook sells it they can simply create their own competitor using the same backend code and then stop using it as a database on their own platforms, instantly demolishing much of its value (which is derived from integration with popular platforms) in the eyes of potential investors. That wouldn’t improve competition but it could wipe out the ability for competitors in other sectors to outsource said functionality, resulting in less competition.

    The UK policing of competition within markets is beyond stupid these days, targeting all the wrong things. They should be banning App Store functionality in favour of pluggable repositories but they don’t, they should be investigating the harm of DRM to consumers but they don’t… they’re just useless.

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