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2016's biggest social media stories

Matt Kapko | Dec. 22, 2016
Social media had undue, and dangerous, influence on the presidential election in 2016, and Microsoft closed one of the highest-profile acquisition in social media history. These are just two of's picks for the most significant social stories of 2016.

Hate speech and cyberbullying also continued to bring Twitter down, and in 2017 the company will need to decide once and for all, if it's on the side of the abusers or the abused.

Twitter's biggest win in 2016 came courtesy of the NFL, when it picked the platform over Verizon and Amazon to livestream Thursday Night Football games. Twitter wasn't the favorite, but the company came out on top because of its potential reach and established role in creating online commentary around live sports.

Live video, Facebook Messenger and social commerce

Live mobile video also made big gains in 2016. Every major social media company added, or is adding, related features, and they pushed more live broadcasts to users' feeds. The development has significant potential implications for digital marketers and the enterprise.

Earlier this year, Facebook opened the floodgates for bots on Facebook Messenger. The social media leader hopes to kindle a more modern and efficient mode of communication between businesses and their customers, but so far the results have been mixed.

More broadly, social media companies failed in 2016 to live up to their promise as online one-stop-shops for consumers and retailers. Shopping is still not common on social media, and social sites are unlikely to become major destinations for buying any time soon. The biggest platforms haven't given up, but some critics say it may be too late. 

Finally, the year closed with official approval of one of the largest deals in social media history. Microsoft closed its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, and the CEOs from both companies shared some of the early plans for integration across product lines.


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