Purpose: The social media industry has entered a new stage with intensifying competition and heightened uncertainty about future directions. The purpose of this paper is to provide analyses of the current challenges and to identify industry-wide trends that may offer a roadmap for the future. Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on publicly available key performance metrics, company reports and press reports, this paper offers critical analyses of the challenges facing the major social media platforms and new trends in the social media industry. Findings: This study identified five major trends in the current social media industry: 1) content is king, and that content is moving to visual; 2) artificial intelligence is key to competitive advantage; 3) network effects still matter, but business model innovation can overcome that barrier; 4) the need to broaden revenue sources; and 5) the strive for the everything app. In this changing environment, social media companies need to adapt and innovate their business models proactively to stay ahead. Originality/value: This paper not only sheds light on the current challenges of individual social media platforms but also identifies industry-wide trends that may apply across all platforms. Taken together, these insights paint a comprehensive picture of the current industry landscape, as well as offer clues about its future directions.