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This Is What Lit Up Social Media in India in 2016

As for the rest of the world, 2016 has been an eventful year for India. From the cash crunch to pollution to terrorist attacks to the Rio Olympics, there has been plenty for Indians to talk about online.

Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have ranked the most talked about events, videos, people and hashtags of 2016.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Twitter said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move last month to replace just over 86% of currency in circulation was the “most influential moment of the year.” After Mr. Modi made his surprise announcement, Twitter said 650,000 messages on the move were sent on its network.

The performance of India’s female athletes at the Rio Olympics in August ranked second on Twitter and #Rio2016 was the social networking site’s top hashtag of the year.

Badminton player P.V. Sindhu won silver at the Games, while wrestler Sakshi Malik won bronze and gymnast Dipa Karmakar won just missed out on a medal. Twitter said millions of tweets were sent about their achievements in Brazil.

Delhi’s acrid air was a big issue again this year, according to Twitter. Pollution in the capital surged around the festival of Diwali, on Oct. 30, prompting discussion about the sources of the smog and the government’s response to it.

On Facebook, after Diwali and cricket, the most talked about topic was an attack in September on an army base near the town of Uri, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, in which 18 soldiers were killed.

News dominated the top hashtags on Twitter. Among them were #Surgicalstrike, after India’s army said in September it had taken out some terrorist bases across the country’s de facto border with Pakistan, and #JNU from a controversy sparked over a gathering in February at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

Facebook said Pathankot, was another top interest. On New Year’s Day, six militants attacked a major army base in near the Pakistani border, sparking a gun battle that lasted nearly 40 hours and left seven Indian security personnel dead.

Some other events that trended globally, like the U.S. presidential election, Brexit or the election of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines didn’t register on any of the Indian lists, though Cricket, Pokemon Go and the iPhone 7 launch were among Facebook’s most discussed topics in India.

On YouTube, the most popular trailer was for Kabali. Mayhem erupted in some parts of India in July ahead of the premiere of action hero Rajinikanth’s latest movie, with some fans queuing from before dawn to get a place in the theater to watch it.

The year’s most instagrammed day was Diwali, while the most popular location to post photos from was Marine Drive in Mumbai. India’s most-used hashtag on Instagram was #love.

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(via WSJ)