Days after Facebook acquires Giphy, Zoom disables it in chats

Zoom says GIPHY integration was temporarily removed to deploy technical measures


Just days after Facebook acquired GIF-sharing platform Giphy for over $300 million, videoconferencing company Zoom has temporarily disabled the integration of Giphy in its chat feature.

In a note published on the company blog, Zoom said, “To ensure strong privacy protection for the users of GIPHY on Zoom Chat, Zoom is disabling the GIPHY integration on May 21, 2020. Once additional technical measures have been deployed, we will re-enable the feature.”

What these privacy protections are is unclear.

The announcement of Facebook’s acquisition of Zoom had sparked privacy concerns, as the popular GIF-sharing app is utilised by several other platforms including iMessages. The platform has over 700 million users, prompting fears that Facebook could access their data.

Facebook says they will be integrating Giphy’s GIF library into Instagram and other apps. The company says that Giphy already received 50 per cent of its traffic from Facebook. Giphy told The Verge that they do not track pixels, cookies or have embedded user tracking mechanisms in GIFs or tickers.

Zoom too has faced backlash over its security in the past. The latest batch of updates seeks to clear up some of these apprehensions. Screen sharing will be set to 'Host Only' by default now, and participants who have been muted will be asked for permission before they are unmuted, among other changes.