Top 10 Most Memorable Web Moments of 2016

Script written by Sean Harris.

Internet sensations, viral videos, memes and more; there were many memorable web moments in 2016. Whether it was the creepy clown videos and “Suicide Squad” trailer, or Facebook and Google’s crackdown on fake news or Snapchat, Instagram and Vine, there were many important stories in internet history in 2016. WatchMojo counts down ten web milestones that broke the internet in 2016.

Special thanks to our users ninou78 and mac121mr0 for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Memorable+Web+Moments+of+2016

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Script written by Sean Harris.

Top 10 Web Moments of 2016


From groundbreaking ideas to world-changing stories, it was a memorable year online. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 web moments of 2016!

For this list, we’ve looked at the most important, famous and defining moments, trends and/or developments for the World Wide Web in 2016.

#10: Snapchat Spectacles

September 2016 proved a significant month for the image sharing company, Snapchat. Firstly, it rebranded as Snap Inc., and then it made its first forage into hardware gadgets. Described by the company as ‘sunglasses that snap,’ Snapchat Spectacles are wearable shades with a built-in camera. They allow the user to record up to 30 seconds of video footage in 10-second increments directly from their own perspective, before automatically importing to Memories in Snapchat. A pioneering concept, but not without its controversy, Snapchat placed its Spectacles on limited release initially. To get your hands on this gadget, you need to locate specialist ‘Snapbot’ vending machines, which are constantly on the move.

#9: Verizon & Yahoo!

2016 isn’t likely to be remembered with fondness by anyone connected with Yahoo. In July 2016, it’s 21-year history as a standalone company looked set to end when Verizon agreed to purchase it for $4.83 billion. Considering the digital pioneer was once valued at almost 30x that figure – hitting a $125 billion high point at the turn of the century – the sale should’ve marked the end of its dwindling fortunes. But September brought revelations of a massive data breach at Yahoo, with reports that at least 500 million user accounts had been compromised in 2014, following one of the largest hacks in internet history. In the wake of the scandal the Verizon deal faltered, with some expecting it to fall through completely. In Yahoo’s ‘rise and fall’ story, 2016 was a definite low point.

#8: Nintendo Switch Reveal

With Xbox and PlayStation dominating the console market in recent years, and after the relatively lackluster reception for Nintendo’s last major release, the Wii U, some have labeled the Nintendo Switch as a make-or-break console for the company. An official first look at the hybrid hand-held/home entertainment system was given in October, when a slick promo clip showed a myriad of gaming possibilities. Users can play from the comfort of their sofa, but can also ‘switch’ to a portable device with apparent ease thanks to an innovative controller. The titles list is set to grow, but the big reveal did give some hints. Mario’s appearance excited many, but “The Legend of Zelda” got top billing, with a glimpse of the long-awaited “Breath of the Wild.”

#7: Creepy Clown Videos

Now on to one of the strangest and scariest crazes of the year: the creepy clown trend. The 2016 clown sightings started in the U.S., with the first reports received in South Carolina in August. But then, copycat cases spread to other states and other countries. While many reported simply seeing someone in a clown costume standing in an unexpected place, some clowns were linked to criminal activity including robberies and assaults. The hysteria led to a flood of creepy clown videos on the internet, and although many of them turned out to be hoaxes, they still sparked an ongoing discussion about the reasons behind the trend. One thing’s for sure; it was a real tough time for those in the professional clowning business!

#6: Instagram vs. Snapchat

When Instagram released its new Stories feature in the summer of 2016, it caused a considerable reaction – namely because the service almost perfectly mimics Snapchat. Allowing users to upload photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours, and giving the option to modify those images with text and filters, some onlookers were up in arms over what seemed to be a blatant copycat move. With Snapchat clocking a reported 150 million daily users for the first time in 2016, and therefore becoming more popular than Twitter, Instagram Stories set out to share in its model of success. The initially heated response cooled once users got used to the similar set-ups, but the Snapchat versus Instagram debate is set to rumble on for some time yet.

#5: “Suicide Squad” Trailer

As it was one of the most eagerly anticipated movies of the year, if not the decade, every sneak peek released for “Suicide Squad” caused a cinematic stir. But the first official trailer of DCs ‘worst heroes ever’ was the most watched YouTube movie trailer of 2016, with 77 million views and counting by the end of the year. Featuring an ensemble of awesome bad guys including Will Smith’s Deadshot, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Jared Leto’s Joker, it’s all set to a deliciously disjointed rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” In among all the weaponry, one liners and military-grade helicopters, Viola Davis labels the squad as ‘the worst of the worst,’ but in terms of trailers it’s the best of the best. In the words of Freddie Mercury, it ‘sends shivers down your spine.’

#4: The Crackdown on Fake News

Following Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. Presidential election in November 2016, debate erupted in America around fake news exposure on social media, and the impact it did (or didn’t have) on the election result. Maybe you saw articles in your Facebook newsfeed that the Pope and Denzel Washington were endorsing Trump, or when you Googled who won the popular vote, the search engine promoted an article saying Trump had – before the votes had even been completely counted. Either way, the role of social media in shaping public opinion came under scrutiny. In response, Google is set to tighten up its AdSense network, while Facebook updated its own policy on the matter, clarifying that fake news will not be displayed in ads on the site. While neither move addresses the sharing of fake news from user-to-user, analysts have welcomed the developments as a step in the right direction.

#3: Facebook Live

Though it was launched in 2015, Facebook Live first entered into public use in January 2016, when it was incorporated into the Facebook iOS app. Over the year, it established itself as one of the most exciting new concepts on the social media landscape, although similar services like Periscope had existed before. Facebook Live lets users livestream video to whichever of their friends decides to tune in. It’s a fresh, although sometimes controversial, way of interacting on the site, where users often have an established friends list and a sizeable potential audience. The growth of Facebook Live has also gotten businesses excited, given the opportunities it poses for innovative, real time advertising strategies and unique management solutions. Gone are the days when live broadcasts were reserved for TV news and sports events – now, anyone can be the star!

#2: The End of Vine

When Vine launched in January 2013, having been acquired by Twitter just a few months before, it gave the internet something quite unique and definitely addictive. Its ever-growing collection of short, meme-worthy video clips offered a kaleidoscopic view on life, to satisfy even the shortest of attention spans. But, in October 2016, Twitter announced plans to axe the app, which critics say hadn’t been developed at a quick enough pace. While Vine doesn’t intend to delete pre-existing clips (initially, at least), users will no longer be able to post new material as the service will gradually be shut down. But we’ll always remember the cute animals, funny injuries, sports highlights and 6-second singing auditions. Never forget!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Ghostbusters” Trailer
The most disliked movie trailer in YouTube history

- “Lemonade” Album Release
Beyoncé’s first album in 3 years, initially released exclusively on Tidal

- No Buyers for Twitter
All potential bidders walk away from the sale after stock slumps

#1: Donald Trump on Twitter

Our winner is rather a series of moments, all played out on Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. The eventual victor in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election was very active on social media throughout his campaign, creating often-controversial posts, demanding attention and criticizing his rivals. Trump was famed for his Twitter tirades even before he decided to make a run for the White House, but some polls show that Americans would rather he closed down his personal account once he’s inaugurated. Trump has said that his social media use will be more ‘restrained’ during his reign as Commander in Chief, but its prominence on his journey to the top of U.S. politics was an ongoing story throughout the year. Whether you follow Mr. Trump or not, his tweets made headlines.

Do you agree with our list? Which moment did we miss? For more internet-inspired top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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