A clown car crashes into a conference
Book Linda some media training... STAT!
So… have you watched it yet?
This has to be the most excruciating, cringe interview you’ll watch this year.
What a dumpster fire of an interview. 😆 X CEO Linda Yaccarino urgently needs some hardcore media training. And to cap it off, someone caught a shot of her iPhone homescreen which has one key app missing 🤦🏻♂️. We’ll dissect the cringe-fest more in a moment.
A quick shout out to Elan lal Jones and Alun Jones who created and hosted the first ever Social Media Conference Cymru 🏴 in Cardiff yesterday (Thur 28). I had a blast hanging out with Wales’ finest social media geeks. It was a *seriously* good event… And it’s coming back in 2024. 👌
In less fun news, I upset Russell Brand’s fanatical ‘awakened wonders’ hate mob 🚨. Oops.
BTW, If you’ve ever wondered how much work goes into publishing Geekout Newsletter every Friday, check this out… It’s a lot of work! 😅
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🔥 Geekout Hot 5
X CEO Linda Yaccarino’s “Car-Crash” Interview At Code Conference [EXCRUCIATING]
Meta Launched 28 AI Chat Bot Assistants With Personalities [INTRIGUING]
TikTok Staff Have Easy-Access To Sensitive Data Linked To High Profile Users [ALARMING]
BBC Publishes New Social Media Rules For Flagship Presenters [CONTROLLING]
TikTok Suffers Major eCommerce Blow In One Of Its Biggest Markets [RESTRICTING]
✨ New & Noteworthy
More big things you need to know this week:
Meta / Instagram / Facebook
Meta Quest 3
Meta launched two new devices this week : Quest 3 VR headset and improved Ray-Ban smart glasses which let you livestream to Instagram and Facebook… Facebook and Instagram are getting new A.I. creator tools…Instagram is testing new anonymous question sticker for stories (I like this, but it lead to abuse)… Instagram finally now lets you download Reels with music from their catalog (but adds an additional music track watermark).
Threads may soon let you easily attach GIFs to posts… And Instagram’s boss admits people are using Threads less than he’d like (but earlier this week, Zuck suggested Threads usage is still going well 🤷♂️)
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X scrapped a misinformation reporting tool and cut its election integrity team by half (because X isn’t broken enough)… The E.U gave Elon a ticking off after it found X is the biggest social media outlet for Russian disinformation… X previewed new ‘shadowban’ alerts… X may soon let you pay for an ad-free experience (or you could just wait a while longer until all the advertisers have left?)…
TikTok got swamped with spammy A.I.-generated content… TikTok added a centralised wallet to help you manage your rewards, coins, and transactions… TikTok Shop was spotted offering hemp and sex toys, even though they’re banned… And TikTok influencers have been spotted selling bodybuilding drugs to teens.
Snapchat / Reddit / YouTube / Others
Snapchat is testing TikTok-style ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ feeds… Reddit launched its own ‘creator fund’ style programme to pay top contributors and and mods (but it bring new risks)… Brands started pulling ads from Rumble because Russell Brand uses the platform… Canva now helps you create ‘Courses’…
😳💔 And finally… Tinder launched an ultra-premium $499 per month plan for its most active (and gullible?) users.
🚨 Everyone's talking about...
Linda Yaccarino clearly wanted this week to be all about showing she’s a competent and slick CEO working in a tight partnership with Elon Musk.
There was a splashy profile in the FT at the start of the week, and then a headline slot at the exclusive Code conference in California to look forward to. But then the interview went badly wrong.
You’ve got to watch it for yourself - Yaccarino comes onstage clearly flustered about the late addition of former Twitter head of Trust & Safety Yoel Roth, who was interviewed just an hour earlier.
The dispute let to some dramatic back-and-forth sniping online. Whether Roth’s appearance really was a surprise to Yaccarino and her team is disputed, but her reaction came across as nervous and uncomfortable - not like a CEO in full charge of her brief.
She also appeared not to have X on her homescreen, appeared vague about Musk’s talk of charging all users, and then fumbled and changed the subject when it came to basic numbers she should have had nailed down. Can we really believe her when she claims X will be profitable in 2024?
A strong comms team would have anticipated these topics and had well-rehearsed answers lined up. But, well… X doesn’t have a comms team.
In the background of all this was the latest example of Musk and Yaccarino pushing in different directions.
Elon fired X’s Europe-based election integrity team this week, leaving just half a dozen working on threats to democracy worldwide (seemingly because one of the team liked a post criticising Elon). Meanwhile, Yaccarino insisted the team was expanding.
Onstage at Code, she claimed the main issue was just a mistake in the media reporting, but again - a good comms team would have smoothed this over long before the interview.
Yaccarino’s next big challenge is presenting X’s new plan for profitability to the company’s long-suffering bankers. Let’s hope she’s a little more prepared than she seemed to be onstage this week.
What happened to the metaverse? That’s a question you could rightly ask after Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance at Meta Connect this week. It took 33 minutes for him to mention the word that was once right at the heart of Meta’s plans for its next chapter.
But then A.I. came along and suddenly that’s all anyone wants to talk about - including shareholders. So Meta went BIG on A.I. features.tm
There’s too much to list it all here (TechCrunch has a good roundup, which I’ve linked to above) but central to the plan is the company’s own A.I. assistant. It’s coming soon in beta in the US to WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, as well as the upcoming Quest 3 and new Ray-Ban smartglasses.
Meta’s much talked-about A.I. chatbots also got an official reveal. The company has licensed celebrities from MrBeast to Snoop Dogg so you can chat to the D-O-double-Gizzle if you really want to. They’re just text-based for now, with audio set to follow in the future.
What’s more, businesses and creators will be able to create their own A.I. chatbots.
We saw a lot more of Mark Zuckerberg this week, as he gave a round of interviews, including a revealing, in-depth chat with The Verge and a good conversation with Forbes. If you want something a little different, try his interview with Lex Fridman, conducted via realistic 3D avatars.
These days, Zuckerberg has an easy ride. Elon Musk is the ‘bad guy’ of big tech, leaving Zuck more in his comfort zone of talking about new products and ways of connecting people.
He also gets to look like the bigger, more mature man compared to Musk who is, let’s not forget, more than a decade older than Zuck.
Oh, and despite all the talk of Threads, ‘struggling to grow’ (based on data predicting it will have almost half the regular users that X does, just five months after it launched 🤔) and signs Meta isn’t happy with Threads’ growth so far, Zuck showed no sign of wanting to shut it down when asked about it by The Verge.
This is even funnier when you realise Jim used to be a senior comms exec at Twitter 👇
When you don't have a comms team in place to sweat the details, you end up pictured in a crucifixion pose for your big FT profile.
— Jim Prosser (@jimprosser)
Sep 27, 2023
Boy math is paying $44 billion for a $25 billion company and, through business smarts and entrepreneurial know how, turning it into an $8.8 billion company
— Casey Johnston (@caseyjohnston)
Sep 27, 2023
📈 Trending meme
This photo of ‘King of Queens’ star Kevin James was everywhere this week…
social media manager: who tf just posted that shitty meme
new “head of marketing”:
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra)
Sep 25, 2023
me when my friend posts a screenshot of our text messages on their story so everyone can see how funny i am
— grace (@gracesftdt)
Sep 24, 2023
A.I. generated ‘subliminal messages’ became a big thing this week:
💬 You can quote me on that
When I’m quoted in the news, you’ll find it here:
I spoke to BBC News about why Reddit plans to start paying some contributors and mods:
I explained to inews why the BBC’s social media guidelines are a minefield for everyone involved
📺 Must watch
This is awesome…
Is this the future of video podcasts and business meetings? Watch Lex Fridman and Mark Zuckerberg’s chat using photorealistic avatars and now a real human in sight:
Here's my conversation with Mark Zuckerberg, his 3rd time on the podcast, but this time we talked in the Metaverse as photorealistic avatars. This was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It really felt like we were talking in-person, but we were miles apart 🤯 It's… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
— Lex Fridman (@lexfridman)
Sep 28, 2023
Mark Zuckerberg’s interview with The Verge is worth watching in full, but this clip where he talks about Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover shows what a good dose of media training can deliver
More ways A.I. is transforming social media:
Canva now lets you generate A.I. videos
TikTok has launched a ‘Creative Assistant’ to help guide your ad creation process.
CapCut has added A.I.-based Autocut and A.I.-generated product photos.
Instagram is working on A.I.-generated suggested replies for DMs
Snapchat is testing an AI image expander feature
👓 New hardware
Meta unveiled its second generation Ray-Ban smartglasses this week. Among the new features, you can livestream to Instagram and Facebook:
Also: the $499 Quest 3 was debuted. It ships on 10 October
Oh TikTok. Its algorithm is great at surfacing what you want, but also, it seems, a swarm of A.I. spambots:
TikTok infiltrated by AI spam bots promoting seedy tool that claims to “remove the clothes of any picture you want”
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra)
Sep 26, 2023
Social media manager nightmare: A footballer in Italy could sue his own club after its social media team posted a TikTok video mocking his missed penalty on the club’s official account.
Products heading for the graveyard:
Hey look, it’s Google being Google again:
👀 Good reads
“Divorce, trouble peeing, and stealing hotel food: Why did a job network become everyone's favorite place for oversharing?”:
📄 Report of the week
MrBeast, KSI, and Jake Paul top Forbes’ list of the biggest creators in 2023.
🧠 Smart links
Upgrade your SMM skills:
📊 Social stats
The Forbes Top 50 Creator List 2023 have combined followers: 2.6 billion and combined earnings: $700 million (up 20% vs. 2022)
By 2025, Facebook will bring in $1.02 per person per hour while TikTok will bring in $0.19, a report predicts
How much does TikTok pay creators for ONE BILLION views?
“Some teens’ phones dinged with notifications upwards of 5,000 TIMES A DAY"
Teens barely spend any time on Snapchat anymore, according to new study
Social media users with smaller followings generate a higher engagement rate
MAU and DAU stats for all the major social apps compared
2023 average social media engagement rates for 13 industries
Walter Isaacson's new Elon Musk book has outdone other major business biographies in recent memory… except one
“F1 has witnessed a dramatic drop in social media numbers off the back of Red Bull’s domination”
More Meta News
Meta has paid £149 million to break the lease on a London office because it no longer needs the space. [Financial Times $$$]
UK newspaper groups claim axing Facebook News is an “urgent threat to democracy by choking trusted news”. [Financial Times $$$]
Norway wants to extend a ban on Meta’s consentless tracking ads across the EU. [TechCrunch]
Meta's Canadian news blackout is bad news for student journalists. [Gizmodo]
Meta’s A.I.-enhanced Advantage+ shopping campaigns aren’t a hit with marketers. [AdWeek $$$]
Instagram wants to talk content strategy with more creators. [@MattNavarra]
New features and tests:
Meta Verified for Instagram now lets you change your profile every three days instead of every 30. [@jonah_manzano]
Instagram has a new privacy option lets you control who can see likes you have made. [@ahmedghanem]
Instagram is testing a ‘Top 20 comments’ view on posts. [@ahmedghanem]
Instagram lets you share your explore grid to Stories. [@eskoosme]
Instagram A.I. story stickers have been spotted in the wild. [@jonah_manzano]
Instagram now lets you download Reels with music from its catalogue. [@ahmedghanem]
Instagram is testing a new "Content Funding" feature for Reels. [@ahmedghanem]
Instagram is testing replies on broadcast channels. [@ahmedghanem]
Instagram has added watch time as a Reels insight metric. [@ahmedghanem]
Instagram’s unreleased ‘Hall Pass’ feature has been renamed ‘Crews’. [@alex193a]
Instagram has added a "Use Hashtag" button to search results. [@ahmedghanem]
Instagram A.I. stickers have starter showing in messages. [@jonah_manzano]
Instagram is working on an ‘Anon Questions’ sticker. [@alex193a]
Instagram is working on a ‘Featured’ section for profiles. [@alex193a]
Instagram now lets you create Reels based on yours as a template. [@jonah_manzano]
Threads will let you delete your account (without killing your Instagram account) by the end of the year. [9to5Mac]
Threads could soon let you more easily post GIFs. [@alex193a]
Threads now lets you sort your following accounts. [@ahmedghenem]
Threads has been spotted working on some kind of ‘Meta’ activity feed. [@alex193a]
Threads has added a new button for image sharing. [@oncescuradu]
Messenger now lets you now open links in external browsers automatically on iOS. [@ahmedghanem]
Messenger now warns you about potentially unsafe sites that may try to steal your private information. [@ahmedghanem]
Messenger now offers text effects featuring avatars. [@oncescuradu]
Messenger has been spotted using a new WhatsApp-like design of action buttons. [@oncescuradu]
The rest: Creator Studio/adtech/Quest and more:
Meta Business Suite has an updated Stories uploader on desktop. [@ahmedghanem]
More X News
New features and tests:
X now lets creators accept DMs from subscribers only. [@elonmusk]
X could soon let you pin more things, including communities, search queries, lists, and profiles. [Social Media Today]
X is testing an in-stream bookmarks button. [Social Media Today]
X has improved its content reporting flow, making it easier to submit rule-breaking content. [Social Media Today]
X has added picture-in-picture video on the web. [@X]
X is working on the ability to limit replies to verified accounts. [@nima_owji]
More TikTok News
Insights to give you an edge at work:
TikTok has shared new notes on how to maximize ad effectiveness. [Social Media Today]
New features and tests:
💥 More social media news and updates
YouTube is axing its ad-free Premium Lite subscription plan. [The Verge]
YouTube has updated its monetisation guidelines on certain sensitive topics. [Social Media Today]
Snap is set to close a business-focused AR unit it only launched months ago. [Bloomberg $$$]
…and more layoffs could be on the way. [India Today]
Louis Vuitton has launched a Discord server. [Vogue Business]
Insights to give you an edge at work:
New features and tests:
YouTube now shows vertical live-streaming as an option in advanced settings. [@jonah_manzano]
YouTube has introduced a new UI for the composer menu on iOS. [@oncescuradu]
Snapchat+ has added a pre-release feature called ‘Extend Snaps.’ [@jonah_manzano]
Snapchat is testing custom colours for Plus subscribers. [@ahmedghanem]
LinkedIn has added accessibility features with the help of Microsoft’s Immersive Reader. [Engadget]
Reddit is removing the ability to opt out of ad personalisation. [TechCrunch]
Artifact is adding a Twitter-like posting feature. [The Verge]
Telegram has added new features to Stories: music, reactions, and Channel stories. [9to5Google]
Telegram plans to decentralise parts of its platform. [TechCrunch]
Microsoft’s SwiftKey keyboard app has added new A.I. features, including camera lenses powered by Snapchat. [TechCrunch]
Capcut has added new views and filters. [@ahmedghanem]
📖 Weekend reading
Forbes went big on creators this week, thanks to its Creators report, including this profile of the king of TikTok:
😳 And finally...
This is creepy and weird…
“If you Google someone who recently died, you might see a flood of near-identical videos of men reading obits. Here’s why…”
📅 Back next week...
…And that’s your lot. Geekout, done! ✅
Right you lovely lot, I’m heading off to remove the nails embedded in my office chair from where i cringed so hard watching that interview.
This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant