The Biggest Social Media Stories to Break in 2017

From Corbyn to Comey, socio-economic change has been rife in 2017.

Likewise, we’ve seen major shifts in media consumption and huge technological advances.

Elsewhere, the marketing world has also experienced a substantial amount of change, with attitudes – and budgets – shifting further toward social media.

With so much going on in the ever-changing landscape, we thought it necessary to take a month-by-month look at the biggest social media developments in 2017 so far.

January – Trump, fake news and The Facebook Journalism Project

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On January 20th, Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States. Coincidentally, January also saw Facebook announce the launch of a new initiative to combat the spate of fake news and the continual demise of traditional print media.

The Facebook Journalism Project aims to help media outlets and newspapers to forge meaningful relationships with their readers. In turn, publishers also stand to make gains in ad revenue through Facebook’s Audience Network.

February – Snapchat founders Snap Inc. announce Spectacles

A month before their IPO, Snapchat announced that its first hardware product – Spectacles – would be available to buy online. The news coincided with CEO Evan Spiegel’s admission that the app’s parent company, Snap Inc., is a “camera company”.

Fast-forward to June and Spectacles have now officially launched in Europe, with Snapbot dispensers popping up in cities across the continent, and further news that a second-gen version of the sunglasses is on the way with more advanced AR capabilities.

March – World’s Biggest Ad Agencies and Brands Boycott YouTube Ads

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The news of a Google boycott, led by agencies and brands like Havas, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, Walmart, PepsiCo and McDonald’s, sent shockwaves across adland in March.

The decision to pull spend from Google’s own ad revenue system came after instances of advertising appearing over offensive video content on YouTube, including extremist content promoting hate and terrorism.

April – Pepsi pull that Kendall Jenner ad

Indeed, April was the month that gave us Kendall Jenner’s now infamous Pepsi advert.

The ad – which has since been pulled – came under fire by protest groups and campaigners for undermining movements like Black Lives Matter and police brutality in general. As you’d expect, the internet reacted in its usual quick-witted fashion with parodies and memes aplenty.

Incidentally, ‘backlash marketing’ has become a major trend in 2017, with more brands choosing to align their messages and values with social and political causes. Many have begun taking an active role, though doing so can have consequences.

May – Instagram Stories claims more followers than entire Snapchat app

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They say imitation is the best form of flattery, although the same probably doesn’t apply for Snapchat. Facebook and Instagram’s cloning of key Snapchat features may be frowned upon by some, but Mark Zuckerberg’s tactics have certainly worked.

In Spring, the news broke that Instagram Stories, which boasts in excess of 200 million daily active users, had overtaken Snapchat’s entire user-base (161 million DAUs). 

But Evan Spiegel remains defiant, telling reporters: “Just because Yahoo has a search box, it doesn’t mean they’re Google.”

June – Social media wins in the youth vote 

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Theresa May’s disastrous general election campaign may have stolen headlines in June, but it was the use of social media that set a new precedent in politics. From memes to hashtags, social media played a huge role in getting young people to vote.

More than one million people under 25 registered to vote in 2017, with senior political correspondents and analysts praising the impact of social media, particularly the Labour Party’s decision to target users on Facebook.

This practice was previously implemented by the Conservative Party to target undecided voters based on their individual concerns, but it was Labour who captured the imagination – and votes – of Britain’s millennials through a combination of resonant social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

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