(Reuters) — Facebook is buying Giphy, a well-liked web site for making and sharing animated pictures, or GIFs, and can combine it with its quickly rising Instagram photo-sharing app, Facebook mentioned in a weblog put up on Friday. The value, which Facebook and Giphy declined to reveal, was positioned at round $400 million by information web site Axios.

The announcement comes at a time when the most important social media community is beneath scrutiny from regulators over antitrust issues. In 2015 Giphy rebuffed a Facebook supply, selecting as an alternative to proceed integrating its merchandise with a number of social media platforms, in keeping with information website TechCrunch. Both corporations declined to touch upon any earlier talks.

Giphy will grow to be a part of Instagram, the photo-sharing website owned by Facebook. Its GIF library, which may combine with different apps, shall be additional built-in into Instagram and different Facebook-owned apps, the businesses mentioned.

“People will still be able to upload GIFs; developers and API partners will continue to have the same access to Giphy’s APIs; and GIPHY’s creative community will still be able to create great content,” mentioned Vishal Shah, Instagram’s vp of product, within the weblog put up.

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“We will continue to make Giphy openly available to the wider ecosystem,” Giphy mentioned in a put up on running a blog web site Medium.

The American Economic Liberties Project, a Washington-based antitrust advocacy group, urged regulators to research and block the acquisition. “The Facebook-Giphy merger is just the latest example of the Federal Trade Commission standing by while Facebook and Google centralize control over online communications,” mentioned Economic Liberties Executive Director Sarah Miller.

Alphabet’s Google acquired GIF platform Tenor in 2018 and built-in it into its picture search perform, which Miller mentioned undermined the aggressive market Giphy had created. “Now, Facebook is here to pick up the wreckage, and become even more powerful,” she mentioned.

A Facebook spokesman mentioned Giphy’s present integrations with social platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, and ByteDance’s TikTok wouldn’t change. The spokesman additionally mentioned GIFs haven’t any on-line monitoring mechanisms corresponding to pixels or cookies, a priority for privateness advocates cautious of Facebook’s aggressive assortment of non-public knowledge to be used in focused promoting. The Federal Trade Commission didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Facebook’s weblog put up mentioned 50% of Giphy’s visitors already comes from Facebook’s apps, with half of that coming from Instagram.