Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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Should you take care of your personal information?

Facebook has bought GIF brand Giphy for the announced $ 400 million. It joins a portfolio that already has Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus. This is no big surprise: Giphy started out as a search engine, but users will soon be able to share these GIFs on Facebook. Giphy’s reach increased, as did Facebook.

But after the news was reported, users would immediately panic about their security and personal information. After all, Facebook has suffered from several privacy violations recently. So can you trust Giphyen now? What information does it really collect? And how can you ensure that your private information remains secure?

What are the benefits of Facebook buying Giphy?

According to Facebook, 50 percent of Giphy’s traffic comes from its brands, mainly Instagram. Therefore, Vishal Shah, Instagram’s product manager, announced the acquisition and stated that the acquisition is intended to better integrate with Instagram. Shah also says Facebook is working to develop Giphy’s technology and content.

It already has the largest library of independent GIF libraries. Google acquired its main competitor, Tenor, in 2018, so this is once again advancing the battle between the two Internet giants.

And Giphy is definitely a fierce hitter.

Let’s look at Giphy’s integration with online services. It claims to be “wherever the conversations take place” – so that social networking sites like Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat. You’ll also find it in iMessage, Google Chat and Slack, as well as Facebook features like Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

Then there are Tinder, Signal, Trello, Mailchimp and Telegram. Giphy has become an important part of communication applications.

It’s not hard to see why this is such a valuable resource for Facebook. Specially, Snapchat is a major competitor






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, because its demographic development is mainly youthful.

However, it is important to note that we do not know which services will continue to support Giphy after the acquisition. It can disappear from competitors and replace. Or it may work normally. Facebook is apparently going to change little right now. We suspect it will be relevant to apps that encourage sign-in through Facebook, such as Tinder and TikTok.

What information does giphy collect?

After so many privacy scandals, only natural users ask if Facebook also wants better access to information, especially on competing systems like Twitter. But this is just an app that offers GIFs – certainly nothing personal is collected from you… right?

GIF library Facebook

In fact, Giphy collects the information you submit directly, indirectly from third parties and automatically. The latter includes your IP address, device information, and cookies, primarily targeted ads, although our privacy policy also claims to be anti-spam and anti-malware. Otherwise, Giphy says all information is collected “for the purpose of adapting, improving, understanding and continuing to use the Services”.

All developers who integrate it into applications must provide Giphyl with the device tracking ID.

It will take until the acquisition shows the most relevant part of Giphy. Each time you use it, the company can keep track of how the GIF is shared, where (i.e., Platform) and what it expresses. Giphy literally knows if you’re annoyed, happy, or hysterical.

Giphy can also track keystrokes – meaning the service can tell what you’re looking for by spying on what you type.

Embedded in GIFs is a tracking tag that informs Giphyl about how you browse online: what you’re looking for on the web and what apps you’re using.

Combine this with what Facebook already knows about you. Ads may become very specific (if they don’t already exist).

You may not be on Facebook. You may block its tracking cookies. But through Giphy, Facebook could –possibly– Continue to follow you.

How to keep your information safe

GIF graphic information

If you want to keep more information about yourself in the hands of Facebook, the best option is to delete your Giphy account before switching.

This is not a one-size-fits-all solution, as other services you use may share information. Check the privacy policies of third parties; what do they do with personal information? If you can’t find enough information about sharing, please contact them.

Take iMessages, for example. Open the thread, swipe over to More then locate Giphy the list of applications. Swipe it from right to left and click Remove. But without it, iMessages uses the search engine Bing for its GIF files. This would be great, except that Bing could still get these from Giphy.

Do you trust that Apple will not share personal information?

Instead, try another service like Google-owned Tenor or independent ones like GIFwrapped. It depends on who you want to see your information from – a big company like Facebook or Google, or a smaller entity. You can Use the software to convert videos to GIF files






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too.

Of course, you need to support services that don’t share details like Signal. Messenger acts as a proxy, so searches cannot be traced to you. Instead, the searches look like they were done by Signal.

The same goes for Slack, who refuses to send personal information.

It doesn’t look like either will stop using Giphy after buying Facebook unless the social media giant forces it. However, we were particularly surprised if Twitter continues to use Giphy without starting a proxy protocol to mask user information. They are, after all, key competitors.

This puts Snapchant in a state of uncertainty: are they going to work with an important competitor to deliver a popular image format to its youthful demographic? Can you find a similar service to replace Giphy? Or does it plan to develop its own GIF library?

Should you stop using giphy?

This is not the first time Giphy has been in controversy. Artists are not rewarded every time their work is used in GIFs. In fact, they don’t even get credit. Doing this would cause many practical problems, but you can’t blame advertisers for feeling corrupted that their hard work isn’t recognized.

But Giphy is not all bad. It is very popular because it has such an impressive library. It also seeks to improve the world for example teaching sign language






Giphy helps you learn sign language with GIFs
It turns out that GIF formats are a surprisingly effective way to learn sign language, so now there’s no reason not to try.
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—If you uninstall the app or not, it may be a more difficult decision than you initially think.

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