For those still catching up, GIPHY is an online service for making and sharing GIFs. It provides an API to directly integrate into other products. GIPHY is integrated into many products such as Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Reddit, TikTok, Slack and Microsoft Teams. As of 2018, they had around 300 million active users every day across all the platform it serves.
I am a big fan of using GIF’s to humanize and add humour to what can be otherwise pretty dry workplace communications. Here is a blog where I talk about the risks of GIFs vs the benefits.
Now Facebook has bought GIPHY, a report from Axios values the deal at $400m (£330m). Facebook is going to make it part of the Instagram business unit. Instagram’s VP of Products Vishal Shah said third party firms would still have access to GIPHY in a blog. So GIPHY is not going to be removed from third parties like Microsoft Teams, but should you be concerned?
Will Facebook use GIPHY to track Microsoft Teams users?
A Wired explains it well:
“Facebook says it will not collect information specific to individual people using Giphy’s API, but it will get valuable data about usage patterns across the web. Facebook’s suite of apps already made up a huge chunk of Giphy’s traffic—50 percent, according to the company—but now it can collect data from other platforms, many of them competitors, and possibly spot emerging trends. If Facebook realized a certain type of GIF was trending on Twitter, for example, it could commission an artist to make a corresponding collection exclusively for Instagram, luring more users there. Facebook has also been accused of copying features from rivals like Snapchat for years, and will now have insight into how their users interact with GIFs.”
Slack has already confirmed it doesn’t send any identifying info to GIPHY, “As always, Slack is committed to protecting user and company data. Giphy doesn’t receive any information about users or even companies using the Giphy for Slack integration, and only sees Slack usage of the GIPHY API in aggregate.” Brian Elliott, VP and general manager at Slack, source here.
Signal also did a clever integration to hide any user information. I hope that Microsoft has implemented its integration to minimize shared user information.
Should I disable GIPHY in Microsoft Teams?
Lots of people are not fans of Facebook for lots of reasons. Unless you to stop your employees from using Facebook (PC’s and mobile devices remember), I don’t think you have any new reason to disable GIPHY’s in Microsoft Teams. If employees can use Facebook, they are already being tracked by Facebook. Even if it GIPFY was used to track users, which is doesn’t seem to be, it wouldn’t make much difference. Oh, and do you block them from using every other messaging tool that uses GIPHY?
How can I disable GIPHY in Microsoft Teams?
That being said, if you did want to disable GIPHY, it’s straightforward. It’s under Messaging Policies in Microsoft Teams Admin Center.
Is there an alternative?
Tenor is an alternative service, but it’s owned by Google. This is actually the service Yammer uses Tenor. It’s possible Microsoft could offer this as an alternative, but GIPHY is by far the more popular service. I can’t see Microsoft natively adding a second or alternative service.