Facebook buys animated image library Giphy to boost messaging

Kurt Wagner and Sarah Frier

Facebook Inc. said it bought Giphy, a library of animated images known as GIFs that can be attached to messages to express emotion.

Giphy will join the Instagram group within Facebook, according to a blog post Friday, and the social giant has extended offers to more than 100 Giphy employees, a spokesperson said.

Facebook Inc. said it bought Giphy

The acquisition price was $400 million, according to Axios, which first reported the deal. A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on terms of the transaction.

Facebook already offers Giphy’s GIF library in its messaging products but said owning the service outright would make it “easier for people to find the perfect GIFs and stickers” in Stories and direct messages. About 50% of Giphy’s traffic already comes from the Facebook family of apps, and half of that from Instagram alone, according to the announcement.

Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has made private messaging a priority in recent years, and eventually plans to enable messaging between all of Facebook’s services, including WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. The company has also spent a lot of time and money trying to encourage its more than 2 billion users to share more often with features like face filters and stickers.

Giphy will not be exclusive to Facebook, and will continue to work with other services that offer its library of GIFs, a spokesperson said.