Logos of Meta and Facebook are seen in this representative image Photograph:( Reuters )
Facebook owner Meta had been asked by the British competition watchdog to sell Giphy in November last year
Facebook owner Meta has applied for an opportunity to appeal a British regulator's ruling that Meta should sell Giphy, a popular animated images platform.
Competition Appeal Tribunal said on Wednesday that Meta had lodged an application for review on December. Meta has challenged Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) ruling on six grounds.
The CMA had delivered the ruling on Giphy in November last year. The watchdog had said that Meta's acquisition of the animated graphics startup would hit competition and advertising.
Stuart McIntosh, who headed an inquiry into the buyout, said action was required because the tie-up had already affected competition in the display advertising market.
"Without action, it will also allow Facebook to increase its significant market power in social media even further, through controlling competitors' access to Giphy GIFs," he added.
"By requiring Facebook to sell Giphy we are protecting millions of social media users and promoting competition and innovation in digital advertising."
Meta, which announced the purchase of Giphy for a reported $400 million in May 2020, had said it disagreed with the ruling.
The CMA said the merger would allow Facebook to increase its significant market power by denying or limiting other platforms' access to Giphy GIFs.
It would also deny or limit other social media sites' access to Giphy GIFs, driving more traffic to Facebook-owned sites such as WhatsApp and Instagram, which account for 73 percent of social media user time in Britain.
(With inputs from agencies)