The U.K.'s competition authority could force Facebook to sell Giphy, which the company only just acquired last year, if the body's preliminary findings that the deal threatens competition are confirmed.
The Competition and Markets Authority announced preliminary conclusions on Thursday that the acquisition "will harm competition between social media platforms and remove a potential challenger in the display advertising market."
The CMA argued that, because of the popularity of GIFs and the lack of providers, Facebook could use its ownership of Giphy to deny other platforms access to GIFs or extract more data from rival platforms such as TikTok, Twitter and Snapchat that also use Giphy.
The competition authority also found Giphy's paid advertising "had the potential to compete with Facebook's own display advertising," but Facebook terminated those partnerships after the acquisition.
Facebook said it did not believe the findings "to be supported by the evidence" and claimed it had shown "this merger is in the best interest of people and businesses in the UK — and around the world," according to Reuters.