Though research has shown evidence that social media plays a role in increasing political polarization, it has also shown evidence that social media use leads to a persuasion of political beliefs.  An online survey consisting of 1,024 U.S. participants was conducted by Diehl, Weeks, and Gil de Zuñiga, which found that individuals who use social media were more likely to have their political beliefs persuaded than those who did not.  In particular, those using social media as a means to receive their news were the most likely to have their political beliefs changed.  Diehl et al. found that the persuasion reported by participants was influenced by the exposure to diverse viewpoints they experienced, both in the content they saw as well as the political discussions they participated in.  Similarly, a study by Hardy and colleagues conducted with 189 students from a Midwestern state university examined the persuasive effect of watching a political comedy video on Facebook.  Hardy et. al found that after watching a Facebook video of the comedian/political commentator John Oliver performing a segment on his show, participants were likely to be persuaded to change their viewpoint on the topic they watched (either payday lending or the Ferguson protests) to one that was closer to the opinion expressed by Oliver.  Furthermore, the persuasion experienced by the participants was found to be reduced if they viewed comments by Facebook users which contradicted the arguments made by Oliver. 
Social media content is generated through social media interactions done by the users through the site. There has always been a huge debate on the ownership of the content on social media platforms because it is generated by the users and hosted by the company. Added to this is the danger to security of information, which can be leaked to third parties with economic interests in the platform, or parasites who comb the data for their own databases. The author of Social Media Is Bullshit, Brandon Mendelson, claims that the "true" owners of content created on social media sites only benefits the large corporations who own those sites and rarely the users that created them.
Criticisms of social media range from criticisms of the ease of use of specific platforms and their capabilities, disparity of information available, issues with trustworthiness and reliability of information presented, the impact of social media use on an individual's concentration, ownership of media content, and the meaning of interactions created by social media. Although some social media platforms offer users the opportunity to cross-post simultaneously, some social network platforms have been criticized for poor interoperability between platforms, which leads to the creation of information silos, viz. isolated pockets of data contained in one social media platform. However, it is also argued that social media have positive effects such as allowing the democratization of the Internet while also allowing individuals to advertise themselves and form friendships. Others have noted that the term "social" cannot account for technological features of a platform alone, hence the level of sociability should be determined by the actual performances of its users. There has been a dramatic decrease in face-to-face interactions as more and more social media platforms have been introduced with the threat of cyber-bullying and online sexual predators being more prevalent. Social media may expose children to images of alcohol, tobacco, and sexual behaviors[relevant? – discuss]. In regards to cyber-bullying, it has been proven that individuals who have no experience with cyber-bullying often have a better well-being than individuals who have been bullied online.
While many of us have been engrossed in the Instagram lives of our co-workers and peers, a backlash among young people has been quietly boiling. One 2017 survey of British schoolchildren found that 63% would be happy if social media had never been invented. Another survey of 9,000 internet users from the research firm Ampere Analysis found that people aged 18-24 had significantly changed their attitudes towards social media in the past two years. Whereas 66% of this demographic agreed with the statement “social media is important to me” in 2016, only 57% make this claim in 2018. As young people increasingly reject social media, older generations increasingly embrace it: among the 45-plus age bracket, the proportion who value social media has increased from 23% to 28% in the past year, according to Ampere’s data.
Isabelle, an 18-year-old student from Bedfordshire who doesn’t want to disclose her surname, turned against social media when her classmates became zombified. “Everyone switched off from conversation. It became: ‘Can I have your number to text you?’ Something got lost in terms of speaking face to face. And I thought: ‘I don’t really want to be swept up in that.’” For 15-year-old Emily Sharp, from Staines in Surrey, watching bullying online was the final straw. “It wasn’t nice. That deterred me from using it.”
It has been estimated that some 81% of Americans used social media as of 2017, and increasingly so. Over one-fifth of an individual's online time is spent on social media, according to one estimate. In 2005, the percentage of adults using social media was around 5%. Globally, there are roughly 1.96 billion social media users. That number is expected to rise to 2.5 billion by the end of 2018. Other estimates are even higher. According to the Pew Research Center, social media users tend to be younger (some 90% of people ages 18 to 29 used at least one form of social media), better educated and relatively wealthy (earning over $75,000 per year). The United States and China lead the list of social media usage:
Launched in March 2010, Pinterest is a relatively newcomer in the social media arena. This platform consists of digital bulletin boards where businesses can pin their content. Pinterest announced September 2015 that it had acquired 100 million users. Small businesses whose target audience is mostly made up of women should definitely invest in Pinterest as more than half of its visitors are women.
One of the biggest mistakes retailers make is to open up accounts on every social media platform they think is relevant and then leave them alone with no activity. Having an account with any of the social media platforms does not mean your business is into social media any more than owning golf clubs makes you ready for the PGA. In fact, social media users are turned off by the retailer who opens accounts and does not engage with clients and the public and consequently become labeled a pretender.
Social media marketing has increased due to the growing active user rates on social media sites. For example, Facebook currently has 2.2 billion users, Twitter has 330 million active users and Instagram has 800 million users. One of the main uses is to interact with audiences to create awareness of their brand or service, with the main idea of creating a two-way communication system where the audience and/or customers can interact back; providing feedback as just one example. Social media can be used to advertise; placing an advert on Facebook's Newsfeed, for example, can allow a vast number of people to see it or targeting specific audiences from their usage to encourage awareness of the product or brand. Users of social media are then able to like, share and comment on the advert, becoming message senders as they can keep passing the advert's message on to their friends and onwards.
Facebook jumped by 100 million monthly active users from 2.13 billion in December 2017 to 2.23 billion as of June 30, 2018. The rate of growth seems to continue at 15 million active users per month. So, by the end of the year we should see 2.35 billion Facebook monthly active users. Here’s the post where Zuckerberg announced the news about reaching the 2 billion milestone:
There are several negative effects to social media which receive criticism, for example regarding privacy issues, information overload and Internet fraud. Social media can also have negative social effects on users. Angry or emotional conversations can lead to real-world interactions outside of the Internet, which can get users into dangerous situations. Some users have experienced threats of violence online and have feared these threats manifesting themselves offline. Studies also show that social media have negative effects on peoples' self-esteem and self-worth. The authors of "Who Compares and Despairs? The Effect of Social Comparison Orientation on Social Media Use and its Outcomes" found that people with a higher social comparison orientation appear to use social media more heavily than people with low social comparison orientation. This finding was consistent with other studies that found people with high social comparison orientation make more social comparisons once on social media. People compare their own lives to the lives of their friends through their friends' posts. People are motivated to portray themselves in a way that is appropriate to the situation and serves their best interest. Often the things posted online are the positive aspects of people's lives, making other people question why their own lives are not as exciting or fulfilling. This can lead to depression and other self-esteem issues as well as decrease their satisfaction of life as they feel if their life is not exciting enough to put online it is not as good as their friends or family.
On social media, consumers are exposed to purchasing practices though peer sent, written messages. Learning through social media includes strategies such as "modeling, reinforcement, and social interaction mechanisms" all at the same time. A study, that focused on peer communication through social media, has revealed that communication between peers through social media is positively related to purchase intentions in a couple ways. First, is a direct impact through conformity. Second, is an indirect impact by stressing product engagement. Lastly, from this study, we learned that consumer-related communication between peers on social media has a positive relationship with product engagement. 
Social media personalities have been employed by marketers to promote products online. Research shows that digital endorsements seem to be successfully targeting social media users, especially younger consumers who have grown up in the digital age. Celebrities with large social media followings, such as Kylie Jenner, regularly endorse products to their followers on their social media pages. In 2013, the United Kingdom Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) began to advise celebrities and sports stars to make it clear if they had been paid to tweet about a product or service by using the hashtag #spon or #ad within tweets containing endorsements.
The commercial development of social media has been criticized as the actions of consumers in these settings has become increasingly value-creating, for example when consumers contribute to the marketing and branding of specific products by posting positive reviews. As such, value-creating activities also increase the value of a specific product, which could, according to the marketing professors Bernad Cova and Daniele Dalli, lead to what they refer to as "double exploitation". Companies are getting consumers to create content for the companies' websites for which the consumers are not paid.
To get the most out of social media, make the relationships you build with it your end goal. That might sound a bit utopian for anyone who is grounded in more traditional and tangible business measurement and metrics, but take a step back from the bottom-line, ROI-seeking aspect to look at the big picture for a minute. The relationships built with customers are the foundations upon which other aspects of your business can and will flourish.
Social media are interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. The variety of stand-alone and built-in social media services currently available introduces challenges of definition; however, there are some common features: