Snap-owned GIF-hosting platform, Gfycat, has announced its discontinuation as of September 1, 2023, and plans to remove its comprehensive archive of GIFs from the internet. Users have been given a two-month window to either save or delete their content from the platform.
A public message on the Gfycat website advises users to visit their accounts to manage their content before the September deadline, after which all content and data will be irreversibly deleted. The future of Gfycat's content remains uncertain, with no clear indication if Snap intends to integrate it into Snapchat or delete the accumulated GIFs permanently. Nonetheless, a spokesperson for Snapchat assured TechCrunch that Snapchatters can still search for and use GIFs in their conversations.
Gfycat's shutdown comes in the wake of increasing competition from rival platforms such as Tenor and Giphy, as well as a few operational hiccups. The platform recently faced backlash following a lapse in its TLS security certificate in May that resulted in a five-day service disruption. Moreover, there have been ongoing reports from Gfycat users of an inability to upload GIFs and unresponsiveness from the support team.
Established in 2013, Gfycat carved a niche in allowing video encoding of GIFs and supporting high-definition short clips and animations. It was acquired by Snap in 2020. This news follows closely on Meta's divestment of Giphy to Shutterstock for $53 million, a significant drop from its initial purchase price of $400 million. The sale came after the U.K.’s antitrust authority compelled Meta to divest Giphy over concerns of reduced competition in the market.