Facebook lined up a multi-million dollar acquisition of graphic interchange format (GIF) picture provider Giphy, as part of an effort to integrate the feature into its Instagram subsidiary.

In a statement, the social media giant stated 50 per cent of Giphy’s traffic already came from its apps, half of which was from Instagram alone. While Facebook didn’t talk numbers in its announcement, Axios placed the price paid at $400 million.

Facebook said the acquisition would boost user engagement on Instagram, but emphasised it would not affect Giphy’s current operation of its library, and there would be no change to content creators’ and users’ ability to make and upload GIFs.

The company plans to invest in Giphy’s technology development, and relationships with content creators and developers. It also aims to integrate the company’s library into its other apps.

US-based Giphy was founded in 2013, initially serving only as a search engine for GIFs before being expanded to enable users to post and share content on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook was previously reported to have attempted to take over the platform in 2015. In 2018, Instagram and Snapchat deactivated the service after a bug enabled a racist sticker to get through its content moderation process.