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Pinterest is a bit like a lifestyle search engine. And so, the platform is perfectly positioned to predict some of the top trends for 2021 — like cars becoming our "third space," epic charcuterie boards, and skinimalism. You can see all of their predictions here (btw, Pinterest says it got 8/10 trends right in 2020, so...)

I'm also going to share a few social media trends with you today, as well as these top stories:
  • WYNTK about Facebook's legal troubles
  • More shopping options on Instagram and WhatsApp 
  • Twitter integrates with Snapchat (and, perhaps Instagram)
  • And no one could have predicted this TikTok musical
This and more in today's e-newsletter. Read on ⬇️

 Facebook's legal troubles 

"Revisionist history." That's how Facebook is describing antitrust lawsuits recently launched against the company by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and more than 40 states. The lawsuits, announced last Wednesday, allege that Facebook illegally crushes its rivals. The FTC is also demanding that the company undo its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. Let's take a deeper look.
 What you need to know 
Federal and state regulators have been investigating Facebook for the last 18 months. The resulting antitrust lawsuits allege that Facebook purchased Instagram and WhatsApp to crush competition and to help secure its stronghold on social media. But, as Facebook points out in its response to the lawsuits, the government gave it permission to purchase Instagram in 2012 (which was detailed in the book "No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram" by Sarah Frier) and WhatsApp just two years later. And this is just one reason that the antitrust suits will face several challenges, according to the New York Times.

 How it may impact you  
Over the last year, Facebook has been working to further integrate its apps, which would theoretically make it harder to break them apart. For example, it recently integrated messaging between Instagram and Messenger. Facebook also launched an Accounts Center where you can manage posts, payments and more for Facebook, Instagram and Messenger without having to log in and out of each app. We may see even more app integration in 2021. But overall, it can take years for lawsuits to weave their way through the court system. So the impact could be a long time coming.
 What this means for social media 
Regardless of what happens with these lawsuits, there are increasing calls for changes to social media oversight. In a recent interview with Yahoo! Finance, Melinda Gates was asked about the spread of vaccine misinformation on social media. "It's time to have some good regulation on these social media platforms," she said. That is also the conclusion of the Netflix documentary, "The Social Dilemma." (Facebook wasn't too happy about that doc, and issued this response). Many countries are also calling on social media companies to pay publishers for content — something Facebook is going to start doing in the United Kingdom in January. Lawsuit or not, changes are a comin'.
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 Shopping around on social media 
Twitter by Vishal Shah about shopping on Reels
Wait, you still shop from your laptop or desktop? Ok, so do I. But that may be changing because several apps are launching new features that make purchasing from your phone that much easier. Last week, Instagram announced that you can now shop via Reels, its TikTok copycat. When viewing a Reel, you will be able to click on a "View Products" button to buy, save or learn more about the product, according to a report in TechCrunch. Meanwhile, WhatsApp has launched carts. "With carts, people can browse a catalog, select multiple products and send the order as one message to the business," Facebook said in a blog post. Given the increasing amount of time we've been spending on social media apps, it just makes sense that we may want to shop there too. And the numbers back that up. According to a recent Snapchat survey, "One-third of Snapchatters globally report that they are making more purchases on their phones than they previously had." 
 Twitter joins the convo 
Tweet from Ilya Brown about Squad acquisition
The holiday break might be around the corner, but Twitter isn't taking its foot off the gas. The social media platform announced two updates last week, including the purchase of a screen-sharing and video chat startup, called Squad, that facilitates virtual hangs. It will be interesting to see how it integrates. This news comes just weeks after Twitter launched its Stories-like feature, Fleets — one of the biggest updates to its platform in years. And not only is it trying to increase communication within its app, it's making it easier to share tweets on other platforms. You can now share tweets directly to Snapchat (previously, you had to screenshot tweets or do another workaround). Twitter said it's also going to test the feature on Instagram Stories.

Fun fact: Twitter and Instagram actually have a complicated relationship. According to the book, "No Filter", Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey — who made a bid for Instagram — was so angry after Instagram agreed to be acquired by Facebook that he deleted the app and Twitter stopped allowing Instagram access to its network.
There is a a "gaming" theme in this week's list of articles, which actually isn't that surprising given that gaming is having a bit of a mainstream moment — from a highly watched Twitch session featuring U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to Facebook launching a gaming app
🔴 2020 is YouTube Gaming's Biggest Year, Ever: 100B Watch Time Hours [YouTube Blog]

🔴 Facebook Gaming Starts Black Creator Program with Guaranteed Monthly Pay [The Verge]

🔴 Gaming for Everyone: U of T's Faculty of Information Makes Video Games More Accessible [UofT News]

🔴 Among Us Was the Top Mobile Game Worldwide for November 2020 [SensorTower]
Over the last few weeks, I have been highlighting what I think are some of the top social media trends to watch for in 2021. Trend No. 1 featured vertical posts, Trend No. 2 was about heartwarming content, and today, I’m going to talk about what I see as another trend to listen for in the year ahead.

Whether it's social media platforms rolling out new ways to add soundtracks and audio to social content, or digital platforms offering exclusive content and musical experiences, expect to see platforms pump up the volume on this trend in 2021.
Read the blog
Last week I talked about some of the top social media posts from 2020. Well, the 'best of" lists just keep coming. Here are a few more:
 "The Rat of All My Dreams" 
What started on TikTok as a sweet love ballad to Remy, the rat chef in the Pixar/Disney film "Ratatouille," has spawned a Broadway-like musical and benefit concert for out-of-work performers. It all started in August when TikTok user Emily Jacobson shared a clip of a song she wrote about Remy (and she intentionally made the voice a bit higher to sound more like a Disney character). In October, composer Daniel Mertzlufft added more lyrics. And soon, other TikTok users jumped on the trend and created their own songs, like this ballad, "Anyone Can Cook," by RJ Christian. To see how it all started, check out this BuzzFeed video. "Ratatouille: A TikTok Musical" premieres on Jan. 1, 2021. For 72 hours after the premiere, it will be available to purchase and view on demand.
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