Pulse Opinion: 2016: The Year of Facebook
First, it gained more ground in its supposedly "unintentional" march towards being a media platform.
In a year that saw Vine get the pill, Apple kill the headphone jack, and Google redefine what an Android supercomputer can do, very few tech, or media, companies did as well as Facebook in 2016.
First, it gained more ground in its supposedly "unintentional" (Come on, Mark) march towards being a media platform. Yes, fake news is a b-word but if you didn’t have 1.7 billion people worldwide using just your primary platform every month – and 44% percent of Americans (per Pew research) relied on you as their first primary source of news – no one would give a shit.
And that is just Facebook alone. WhatsApp, which Mark Zuckerberg‘s Harvard dorm room company also owns, also hit one billion Monthly Active Users this year.
Instagram, a Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform, also hit half a billion in 2016 and started a strangely successful onslaught on Snapchat. Throw in a Live feature, some new features, some interesting redesign and you have a proper social media giant.
Messenger, a messaging platform that Facebook carved out of its own traditional messaging section, also hit over billion followers and is dominating all of its peers (some would even argue that it beats WhatsApp – it’s sibling – soundly).
While it does look like Facebook has struggled so much this year (fake news palava, humans are biased news curators campaign, and so on), it has also changed so much, generally in the right ways, and shown that sometimes you have to take a break on innovation and do what needs to be done.
It’s slightly uncomfortable when you realise just how much power a platform like Facebook can wield, but the journey – riddled with all kinds of dangerous twists, turns and potholes – is what makes the social network more of a force to reckon with.
Ultimately, it may have just been a good year for Facebook – there may be better years ahead, or not, and this is as good as it gets – and that’s okay. At least, 2016 is [was] the year of Facebook. That’s fantastic too.