Flashback 2015: Major Social Media developments

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Social media has become a major tool of the dissemination of news. These days most of the people have access to smartphones, laptops and internet and social media has proved to be a boon. But the advent of social media also has cons.

In many countries, Facebook and Twitter were also used as a platform to propagate terrorism and to radicalise youth across the world and to spread religious or communal hatred. Cyber crime also saw an increase due to the surge in social media.

Social Media

Many Facebook posts and tweets went viral and trended on social media. It came as a ray of hope during recent Chennai floods and when it comes to ridiculing any political move, like Delhi odd-even traffic formula, then, also social media played a vital role.

Social media also helped in revealing which politician or celebrity has more number of followers.

During Bihar assembly election campaigns, no vehicle days, selfie with daughter campaign, intolerance and net neutrality debate too, social media's role had a major impact.

Social networking giant Facebook and mobile messaging service WhatsApp have retained their positions as the 'most popular applications' among Indians this year.

Indian online shoppers rank on top when it comes to buying products from social media sites, according to global technology company Pitney Bowes' second annual Global Online Shopping Study.

If a politician commits a blunder, blooper, then, he/she immediately gets trolled on Twitter and draw backlash from netizens.

Let us take a look at some of the major social media developments or trends that took place in 2015:


Social media giant Facebook, which has over two million Indian small and medium businesses (SMBs) on its platform, set up a SME Council to help small ventures from various industries share feedback and discuss ideas around leveraging technology to grow their enterprise.

In Nov, it was reported that the craze of popular social networking site Facebook has witnessed a drop among city youngsters with 83 per cent using it against 91 per cent last year, a TCS survey showed.

In Nov, Facebook made it easier to share music, introducing a new post format amid the boom in online streaming. Dubbed "Music Stories," the new format creates a tidy, user-friendly Facebook entry whereas a fan in the past might have posted a cumbersome or random link to a webpage.

In Sept, Facebook launched an innovative newsgathering tool that will help reporters scan and file stories from the ocean of information on Facebook and its photo-sharing site Instagram. Facebook also began rolling out 360-degree viewing at the leading social network, letting people change their perspectives in specially created videos.

On Aug 28, setting a new milestone in social media connectivity, one billion people from around the world flocked to Facebook in a single day, the highest ever.

In Aug, it emerged that Facebook now accounts for more of the traffic to news sites than Google.

Making birthday greetings on Facebook even more impersonal, the social networking giant rolled out a feature that allows a user to wish "Happy Birthday" just by texting '1' from a smartphone.

In July, Facebook got a new logo, but it was not not completely new - just a minor tweaking with the original, so much so that you would have to look closely to spot the differences.

In April, Facebook said that its war against fake likes is paying off so well that many 'bad actors' who built businesses on the tactic are closing shop.

In March, it emerged that certain people can access Facebook accounts without the need for passwords? Some Facebook employees have direct access to your account.


In Dec, a new study suggested that Your rants about the weather on Twitter could help other motorists avoid slippery, congested roads during inclement weather.

Twitter is known for breaking news and celebrity tweets, but it may also prove to be a valuable feedback tool for medical professionals looking to improve the patient experience, a study said.

In August, Australian researchers have revealed how micro-blogging website Twitter can help people who have experienced strokes, cerebral palsy, autism, motor neurone disease and traumatic brain injury to find a "voice".

In July, Twitter cracked down on people who don't re-tweet a joke with credit but take the easy way out and simply copy and paste a joke as if it is their own.

In June, Twitter removed the 140-character limit from its direct messaging feature, a move that will allow people to send longer private messages to their friends using the microblogging platform.

In April, Twitter began working on making its user policies available in Indian languages like Hindi and Urdu to increase 'informed' usage of the microblogging site across non-English speaking population in the country.

In March, Twitter made a non-consensual sharing of "intimate photos and videos" a violation of its rules.
The new Twitter rules were plainly stated, unambiguous, and are designed to help a lot of vulnerable people.

In Jan, it emerged that nearly 24 million out of 284 million Twitter users do not tweet at all, the latest data filed by the micro-blogging site with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed.

This year #SanskariJamesBond trended on the micro-blogging site Twitter.


In Jan this year, internet-based messaging mobile application WhatsApp's popularity crossed 700 million active users.

Information and Broadcasting Ministry also planned to use 'WhatsApp' and also integrate other social media platforms to hold 'talkathons'.


A new study found that Video sharing site YouTube seems to provide a better platform to the brands in the online video realm than rival sites in terms of enhancing "recall value".


Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with over one million followers, featured among "the most viewed CEOs in India" this year on professional networking site, LinkedIn.


In April, Young British Royals -- Prince William, his wife Kate Middleton and brother Prince Harry-- joined Twitter and Instagram.

Interesting social media facts and studies in 2015:

In Nov, a study by professional services firm Deloitte said, "Instant messaging apps like Whatsapp and social networks are the first things that most consumers check on their smartphones in the morning."

A new study done by Denmark-based think tank Happiness Research Institute suggested that you might well be addicted to it, but quitting Facebook would actually make you happy.

In Oct, Facebook added some new features and controls for your profile which, among other things, allow you to use a looping video as your profile photo.

Not just popular opinion leaders but even a single individual who is part of a social group on Facebook can spread information to others just as effectively or more, a US-based research revealed.

People who are distressed by a breakup are more likely to monitor their ex-partners online which could make it difficult for them to move on, a new study suggested.

In May, scientists have found why social networks such as Facebook are such a popular diversion for people who feel like taking a break.

Twitter can help more job-seekers than any other traditional platform if it incorporates a formal job board, experts said in May.

In June, it emerged that Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, can play a greater role in disaster communication, helping people prepare for an emergency and cope with the situation.

Social media users in the country reached 143 million by April with rapid uptake seen in rural India where user base grew by 100 per cent in last one year to 25 million.

In Feb, Facebook introduced a new feature that if your friend posts something that indicates he might be thinking of harming himself, users can click on an arrow on the post to report it.

In Feb, a study said that people who are insecure in their relationships are more actively engaged on Facebook - frequently posting on walls, commenting, updating their status or 'liking' something - in hopes of getting attention.

In Jan, a study revealed that Facebook and Twitter users do not experience increased stress than non-users, but are more aware of negative events in their friends' lives.

Twitter can accurately predict a community's rate of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death worldwide, researchers, including those of Indian-origin, found in Jan.

How news was created on Facebook & Twitter

In Nov, it emerged that nn Australian Muslim woman, Susan Carland, has donated close to 1,000 dollars (USD 700) to charity after pledging to give one dollar every time she receives a hate-filled Tweet.

The Dress also created a flutter on social media with its confusion over its colour: Black or blue

In May, Aran Khanna, a student developer in Cambridge, Massachusetts, created the Chrome extension named 'Marauder's Map' that grabs data from Facebook Messenger and rapidly plots your friends' locations on a map.

Twitter laid off 336 employees, or about 8% of its global workforce of 4,100 people, days after the microblogging giant brought back its co-founder Jack Dorsey as permanent CEO.

Social media power that changed lives

In Sept this year, 13-year-old boy Harendra Singh Chauhan's struggling life changed forever when his picture of studying on road went viral and UP CM Akhilesh Yadav stepped in for providing financial help to him.

In July this year, a Facebook photo helped a Californian woman to reunite with her son after 15 years. Jonathan, now 18, had posted a childhood photo with his brother on Facebook, thinking that his mother Hope Holland or his grown-up brother may find him on the social networking site, Time reported.

In June, when dialing 100 didn't work, a 24-year-old woman made a desperate attempt to save herself. She turned to social networking site Facebook and urged people to rescue her.

In June, a mentally-challenged missing man from Madurai had a reunion with his family with the help of OneIndia Tamil Facebook post.

In March, a tweet with a picture of three vulnerable kids huddled together on the busy New Delhi Railway Station galvanised police and a voluntary organisation to rescue the children, apparently abandoned by their family.

India-Pakistan bonded over social media

A 15-year-old Pakistani boy, who had moved to Bangladesh along with his father and later sneaked into India alone, was reunited with his mother, after a CA student from Bhopal traced the boy's family in the neighbouring country via social media.

Politicians' date with social media

In May this year, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi made his debut on Twitter, with his handle called @OfficeofRG.

Seeking their contribution in making 'Digital India' programme successful, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July, asked activists of digital media to ignore negativity and instead harness positive and creative energy on social media for the country's growth.

According to new study in May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the most popular politician on Twitter after US President Barack Obama, successfully used social media to shape his public image as a tech savvy leader.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh made his Facebook debut in Sept this year.

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi also launched her party's election campaign on Facebook.

On May 25, Senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram joined the popular micro blogging site Twitter and said he is on board for sharing serious views.

The Defence Ministry, in May, made its Facebook debut hoping to reach out to the younger generation using the social media.

In May, the law commission which advises government on complex legal issues forayed into the social media domain to help people interact with it directly on issues concerning framing of laws.

In March, it was reported that the BJP had 1.41 milion followers, AAP had 1.33 million followers and Congress had only 3,51,000 followers on Twitter.

On Jan 1, 2015, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee debuted on popular microblogging site Twitter and greeted the people on New Year in her maiden post.

Social media & business

In March, Social networking giant Facebook embraced e-commerce after it acquired shopping search engine 'TheFind', signalling its aspirations in two of the Internet's biggest money-makers: search and e-commerce.

In March, Twitter launched "Twitter Samvad" in collaboration with the Indian government so as to allow people to receive tweets as SMSes from government offices, including the Prime Minister's Office.

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