Weekly Search and Social Media Highlights

Here’s some of what happened in the search engine and social media industries from 18th to 24th January 2020.

1. Facebook removes pages supporting Robert Hyde

More than a dozen Facebook pages posting content in support of Republican donor and Congressional candidate Robert Hyde were removed after an internal investigation found several of them had the same contact information as Hyde’s campaign website. Hyde is under investigation by government authorities regarding the impeachment of President Trump.


2. Pinterest is more popular in the US than Snapchat

Pinterest shares closed at $21.51 on 14th Jan after an increase of 9.6% after a report by eMarketer revealed the company overtook Snapchat as the third-largest social media network in the US, following Facebook (1st) and Instagram (2nd). Pinterest had 82.4 million users in 2019 compared with 80.2 million Snapchat users. In 2020, it’s expected that Pinterest users will comprise 41.1% of all US social media users.


3. Google CEO advocates for AI regulation

Speaking at a Brussels-based think tank, Google CEO Sundar Pichai called fora ‘balanced approach’ in regulating Artificial Intelligence (AI), saying that technology has “negative consequences” apart from benefits. He said that an international alignment to decide rules of AI regulation are essential, particularly in the wake of US and European Union’s own efforts.


4. WhatsApp hits 5 billion installs on Play Store

Facebook-owned communication app WhatsApp recently hit the 5 billion plus installation milestone on Google Play Store. Facebook is the only other non-Google app, apart from WhatsApp, which was able to cross the 5 billion mark earlier. The development indicates Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014 is paying off well.


5. Instagram is dropping the IGTV button

Instagram plans to scrap the annoying IGTV shortcut button from the top-right corner of the app’s home screen. Initially launched in June 2018, IGTV is Instagram’s extended duration video service intended to compete with YouTube. An Instagram spokesperson even acknowledged that ‘very few people‘ clicked the IGTV icon.

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