Woke up to the news of Facebook acquiring Giphy for USD400M. Giphy is the search engine for GIF images, that is often shared on your messaging app or social network. This news made me immediately delete Giphy off of my iPhone.
Why, you may ask?
Well, there is only one reason for Facebook to buy Giphy - to get hold of the data that Giphy has on its users. Every time you use Giphy, either via its application or its web, data about you is captured, e.g., date and time, make and model of the device and browser, device operating system, application that you using to send the image to, and the actual search term(s) - which gives a peek on what you are thinking or feeling at that particular moment, among other things. I wouldn’t be surprised when Facebook adds location data to the collection.
After deleting Giphy off of my iPhone, I went straight to my Pi-Hole 5.0 instance and blocked giphy.com, and all its subdomains. I did the same for my block list on Windscribe’s R.O.B.E.R.T., and Nextdns.io. Lastly, I updated my Firewalla device to block it for all devices on my home network.
Now that I rid my device of the latest Facebook tracker, I thought of using Apple’s #image iMessage app, but apparently that uses Giphy as a source, too. I am not sure if Apple is doing what Signal has done, i.e., acting as a proxy for users so Giphy only knows that Signal is using it and not the real user. To be sure, I decided to get GiFWrapped, a free iOS application, with in-app purchase. For USD3.50/year, I decided to subscribe and support the developer – at least I have the peace of mind that Facebook is not getting any of my GIF searches! In your face, Facebook!
Delete Giphy now, or forever provide Facebook a backdoor on your devices!