The UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal released a summary of Meta Platforms’ application to appeal an order for it to sell graphics maker Giphy, with the technology giant challenging the decision on six separate grounds.

Meta, which owns Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram was told in November 2021 it must sell Giphy by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after an investigation found the acquisition in 2020 reduced competition in the social media and display advertising markets.

The US-headquartered company confirmed shortly after it planned to appeal the decision and the Competition Appeal Tribunal has now published a summary of its application, in which Meta stated the CMA’s decision was “procedurally flawed”.

Among its challenges, Meta stated the CMA had failed to consider its plan to ensure Giphy could provide its services to social media competitors such as TikTok and SnapChat on the same terms prior to acquisition.

Meta further challenged the CMA’s argument the takeover removed a potential competitor in the display advertising market, stating Giphy’s existing business was unsuccessful.

Big tech
Indeed, the CMA had highlighted during its investigation how Meta could increase its dominance on the market by denying or limiting Giphy’s Graphic Interchange (GIF) images and drive more traffic to its own platforms.

The regulator had also argued Giphy would have been a competitor to Meta in the display advertising market had it remained an independent company.

The CMA’s decision to order Meta to sell Giphy represented a major move by the regulator against big technology companies, as scrutiny of the sector grows.

Meta, however questioned the regulator’s power to force a sale.