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Acquisition Hell

Published on May 15, 2020

This morning, Facebook announced that they are buying Giphy, the popular internet GIF repository, with the intention of integrating it with Instagram. Which means it's only a matter of time before Facebook gets tired of their new toy and shuts them down for good, or maybe strip mines them for features before rebranding them to "InstaGIFs" or some horseshit.

I am so goddamn sick of this cycle of Capitalist plundering. It is a tale as old as time. Older than the internet, certainly. Many companies exist. Then one company gets richer than all the other companies and buys the other companies to "more deeply integrate with their features." Then there is only one company. Then that company shuts down those other companies' features for any one of a thousand reasons. Then there is only one company, and less good shit.

This isn't about Giphy, singularly. This is about the ongoing, as yet unaddressed outbreak of a particularly virulent strain of Capitalism afflicting the world. One that pats itself on the back for the number of choices it offers its consumers, while systematically removing those choices one by one.

We've seen this again and again in tech and on the web. Just ask Mailbox or Sunrise or Vine how business has been lately. Take a look at the bleak fucking wasteland of media production in this goddamn hell ass country.

This is a silly thing to complain about, given the hundred million other ways Capitalism is literally killing us. But it's emblematic of a larger problem with this way of doing things. The rich get richer, the big get bigger, power consolidation goes unchecked, workers get shafted.

I am tired of seeing the things I love destroyed because their existence becomes untenable outside of being absorbed by a mega-corporation. I am tired of having to live with a system that rewards people for doing new and interesting things by slowly beating those things into the same shape as everything else. And I am tired of having a government that sees this as a good and natural occurrence. Like the chrysalis from which a butterfly emerges, beautiful in its way.

Facebook has assured everyone that Giphy will continue to exist in its current form, and we can all keep using it as we have been, so we should all keep our shirts on and let history repeat itself. I'm sure they'll keep their word.

Fuck Facebook. Fuck Capitalism. Fuck a world that can't see a better way.