The world of social media is always changing, and 2023 is likely going to see more change, especially after a year like 2022. Social media is such an integral part of modern life that any change on a platform can be seismic, and this past year was defined by change. TikTok’s star continued to rise, Meta struggled to maintain relevance as Mark Zuckerberg committed to the Metaverse and Twitter imploded under Elon Musk. Northeastern University experts say the social media landscape in 2023 will continue to be defined by these power players––but in ways that we might not expect.
TikTok remained one of the biggest social media successes of 2022 and will likely stay that way in 2023, says John Wihbey, associate professor of media innovation and technology at Northeastern. But factors on the world political stage could impact the platform, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance. Congress is considering banning TikTok on U.S. government phones as part of its massive spending bill, and more than 15 states have banned the app on government-issued devices. As relations between the U.S. and China continue to evolve, the platform could face even more regulatory barriers.
“One could imagine––should things continue to heat up between the United States and China––that the company could start to get squeezed by regulators,” Wihbey says. “Some of the bloom may come off the rose a bit because elites and leaders in the United States start really focusing on this issue. TikTok may become more of a political football in the way that Facebook did after 2016.”