The future of the social media industry will be shaped by a range of disruptive themes, with artificial intelligence (AI) being one of the themes that will have a significant impact on social media companies. A detailed analysis of the theme, insights into the leading companies, and their thematic and valuation scorecards are included in GlobalData’s thematic research report,Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Thematic Intelligence (Executive Briefing).  Buy the report here.

AI is everywhere, and it has an impact on all our lives. However, years of bold proclamations have resulted in AI becoming overhyped, with reality often falling short of the world-altering promises. The coming years will be less about making bold statements and more about delivering tangible benefits. Practical uses of AI will be front and centre, as businesses ensure they get their money’s worth by using AI to address specific use cases.  


As AI becomes more pervasive and embedded in life-changing decisions, the need for transparency has intensified. There have been plenty of high-profile cases in recent years where AI has contributed to bias and discrimination, with the use of facial recognition for policing just one example. There is a high probability of a shift from loose self-regulation to government involvement in AI over the next couple of years. In turn, Big Tech is increasingly using AI to solve the privacy and bias problems that the technology itself created. Explainable AI, which allows humans to understand the path a model took to make a decision, and synthetic data training, which circumvents the small data problem using artificially created data, are two ways AI is being used to develop trust.  

However, not all companies are equal when it comes to their capabilities and investments in the key themes that matter most to their industry. Understanding how companies are positioned and ranked in the most important themes can be a key leading indicator of their future earnings potential and relative competitive position.  

According to GlobalData’s thematic research report, Artificial Intelligence, leading adopters include: Bumble, Alphabet, Z Holdings, Meta, Twitter, ByteDance and Tencent. 

Insight from a top ranked company 


AI is an integral part of Facebook’s offering, but the company has stumbled – its virtual personal assistant M being the most notable flop – and, unless it improves, it risks falling behind the market leaders. The company acquired neural interface start-up CTRL-Labs for $1bn in 2019, followed in 2020 with the purchase of two British start-ups that focus on ML and CV. Facebook believes AI could solve some of its biggest issues, including misinformation. In 2018, Facebook acquired Bloomsbury AI, an NLP start-up, to help address fake news. In mid-2020, it released a database of 100,000 deepfakes, making it possible for anyone to test deepfake detection techniques. As well as making its platforms safer, Facebook is also using AI to create new experiences. It has launched the image recognition system GrokNet to identify items being put up for sale on Facebook Marketplace automatically. Product recognition is considered a first step towards making products in every image identifiable and thereby potentially purchasable. 

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence.  

  • Naver
  • Tencent
  • Kakao
  • Amazon
  • Match
  • Snap
  • Lyft
  • Uber
  • TripAdvisor
  • Gree
  • Mixi
  • Twitter
  • Pinduoduo
  • YY
  • DeNA
  • Momo
  • Groupon
  • New Work
  • Renren
  • Sina
  • Yelp
  • Parler
  • Yandex
  • VK

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