The week in social media: Top Tweets of 2016

Our round up of this week's social media news and insights:

Hot Topic...

Twitter’s top Tweets of 2016

Twitter has released its ‘Top 10 Global Conversations’ for 2016, which is a change from last year's #YearOnTwitter format. This time, it has grouped events into categories like #RIP, #Brexit, #Trump and #Oscars, maybe as a way to give equal time to some good news stories, because otherwise the list might seem heavy on death, politics and Trump. The long #RIP list includes Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Alan Rickman, Garry Shandling, Garry Marshall, Gene Wilder, Kenny Baker, Anton Yelchin, Arnold Palmer, Gwen Ifill, Florence Henderson and Fidel Castro. Then there was #Election2016, #Trump and #Brexit, as well as the continuation of #BlackLivesMatter. While #GameOfThrones season 6 attracted record viewers. Overall, the Rio Olympics, Donald Trump’s election and the Pokemon Go sensation were the biggest global Twitter trends of 2016. However, the biggest single spike in Twitter activity in the UK was sparked by England’s shock defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016 - with 128,000 Tweets per minute sent in the wake of the 2-1 loss. Football also provided the second biggest activity spike after Leicester City’s remarkable Premier League title win in May. The most talked about TV of the year in the UK was Celebrity Big Brother, which beat the Great British Bake Off and Love Island to the top spot. Twitter has also used events of the past 12-months to showcase its news and real-time capabilities. The social network launched a campaign featuring the ‘moments and memories that defined 2016’. Twitter’s chief marketing officer Leslie Berland revealed the most buzzworthy stories in a blog post and invited users to share their own experiences.

PR and Marketing in Social Media

Frankie & Benny’s rewards customers in a Facebook Live stream with Santa

Frankie & Benny’s launched a Facebook Live event with Santa on 5 December, rewarding the restaurant chains’ customers with festive treats and give-aways. Father Christmas broadcast live from the brand’s outlet on The Strand and read out letters and wish lists, collected through Frankie and Benny’s app, website and from influencers’ social accounts. A lucky few were chosen to receive their Christmas wishes, which will be delivered before the big day arrives. Fans could submit their festive wishes to the chain’s Facebook page, or its website. Alongside the live streaming, the brand has unveiled a festive game on its app, ‘The Treat Tree’. Each day in the run up to Christmas the tree will open a bauble which will share a special treat for the restaurant chain’s fans. The surprises include discounts, influencer Christmas hacks and mini games to win. Oliver Jakes, the brand’s senior marketing manager, said the campaign places families at its heart. He added: ‘We are also including a live stream with Santa on Facebook to make Christmas wishes come true for our Frankie and Benny’s families.’

Social Media Brands...

Selena Gomez revealed as Instagram's most popular celebrity in 2016

Selena Gomez has more followers on Instagram than any other star, scooping eight of the 10 most-liked celebrity photos and seven of the top 10 celebrity videos this year. Gomez's most liked photo on Instagram was a promotion for Coca-Cola. Releasing its figures for the year so far, Instagram noted that young female celebrities were the most successful users. Selena Gomez has more than 103 million followers, toppling fellow pop singer Taylor Swift, who, with just under 94 million followers, was 2015's top star on the platform. Behind them come two more singers, Ariana Grande and Beyoncé, then reality TV star Kim Kardashian. The most followed man, at number 6, is footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a trying year for Selena Gomez, who had to cut her concert tour short because of depression. She struggled with lupus, and engaged in a high-profile spat with ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber on Instagram, which saw Bieber shut his account. The social network also revealed that the most Instagrammed day of 2016 was Halloween, the most-used emoji was the heart, hip-hop was the most ‘buzzed’ about US music hashtag, and top moments included tributes to David Bowie and Prince following their deaths.

Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft team up to tackle extremist content

Social media giants Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft have pledged to work together to identify and remove extremist content on their platforms through an information-sharing initiative. A shared database of unique digital fingerprints or ‘hashes’ for images and videos that promote terrorism will be created. When one company identifies and removes such a piece of content, the others will be able to use the hash to identify and remove the same piece of content from their own network. According to Facebook, the precise technical details remain to be established. ‘We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online,’ said the companies in a statement. Technology firms have been under increasing pressure from governments around the world to remove material deemed illegal or harmful. In May, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube agreed with the European Commission a code of conduct on illegal online hate speech. But a few days ago, EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova said that the four were not doing enough to comply with the code, and she threatened to bring in new Europe-wide laws unless they and other online services acted. This newly announced database plan might be part of an effort to head off that possibility. In January, White House officials met with representatives from Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft to explore ways to tackle terrorism. Facebook said the new initiative was not a direct result of the January meeting. But it said all the companies agreed there was no place for content that promotes or supports terrorism on their networks.

Instagram lets users take control of comments

Instagram is now letting its users turn off comments for individual posts for the first time, as part of its move to ‘keep the platform safe and welcoming for everyone.’ The update to its safety feature also makes it possible to remove followers. Previously, the only way to remove a follower from private accounts was to block them. As well as these new safety features, Instagram is also giving its users the ability to like comments. The social network’s CEO Kevin Systrom said the move will allow Instagrammers to ‘show support and encourages positivity throughout the community’. Unlike Facebook, liking a comment will not impact where it appears in a particular post, but it does open the possibility of ranked comments in the future. Like the ability to filter out abusive words, some of these tools have already been available to high-profile accounts, but they are now being rolled out to the general public. Systrom emphasised the updates were part of efforts to make Instagram a ‘welcoming and safe place for everyone’. He also highlighted previous initiatives such as support tools for users with mental illnesses and comment filtering.

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