The social AIs head to Washington

...Send in the bots

Hello, geeks

Well, hello there you. Welcome to this weeks edition of Geekout!

Before we get started THIS! Super-useful NEW Chrome feature for social media managers

So, did you hear the news? Apparently social media is dead... Again!

The death of social media has been a tad exaggerated. I mean, there have been A LOT of headlines in the past 12 months claiming Social Media is Dead.

But some of us may be wishing the news is true? Social media manager burnout is escalating, according to data from Sprout Social.

Meanwhile, its interesting to see that A.I. is getting serious Zuck and Elon are heading to Washington DC to join an A.I. summit.

Also Dont miss this This podcast may get me in trouble...
I spilled the tea about the time Meta execs cornered me in a nightclub in Texas, nearly getting thrown out of a wild Twitter HQ party, my argument with Mark Zuckerberg that ended up on TV And how ONE single email I nearly didn't send, saved my career in social.

 Watch this clip or Listen to full episode

REMINDER: Dont miss Sprout Social's upcoming webinar all about Threads.

Ill be joined by the social media super-brain Richard Cook (Monzo).

We'll discuss

  • Threads is here What happens next?

  • What should your Threads social strategy look like?

  • Which brands are nailing it on Threads?

1000+ people have already requested an invite.

Right Lets get on with the news. These were the hottest headlines in social this week:


  1. X Lifts Ban on Political Advertising Ahead of U.S. Elections [MONEYMAKER]

  2. Zuckerberg and Musk to Attend U.S Senates First AI Forum [FRENEMIES]

  3. YouTube Gives Rule-Breaking Creators a Way to Wipe Out Warnings [LIFELINE]

  4. Meta Takes Down Largest Ever Chinese Influence Operation [BAD INFLUENCE]

  5. Instagram Testing TikTok-Style 10 Minute Long Reels [REEL-LY LONG]

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Want a speedy debrief on everything else new in social this week?

Heres what you need to know:

Threads / Instagram

Instagram now recommends Threads posts you might like in your feed - (Meta pulling those growth levers!) Threads also rolled out a proper search feature (but only in Aus/NZ) A new Instagram test lets creators highlight comments in Stories And Instagram is testing an Astrology sticker for stories.

Facebook / Meta / WhatsApp

Facebook added a setting to block Meta from using your data to train A.I. Metas VR avatars FINALLY have legs WhatsApp launched a brand new Mac app, complete with support for group calls And WhatsApp may soon let you share original quality images and videos.

Twitter (X)

X rolled out recruitment ads for Verified Organizations Video and audio calls are coming soon to X X wants to collect your education history and biometric data (but it hasnt said how itll do that) X usage dropped after its rebrand, but revenue has increased X warned against faking engagement for bigger revenue share payments X now lets paying users hide their likes.

TikTok / YouTube / LinkedIn

YouTube expanded access to its creator monetisation features YouTube rolled out the much-requested content links feature to all creators ahead of schedule Looks like LinkedIn is going to remove support for hashtags And LinkedIn is going to purge inactive accounts from your Company Pages follower count

Everyone's talking about...

Generative A.I. has rapidly become the most exciting topic in tech, but its also prompted a landgrab as companies that own big chunks of data realise it could be very valuable for training A.I.

And so it was interesting to see this week that Meta has added a way of opting out of your Facebook data being scraped for the companys own A.I. efforts:

Meta, the maker of Facebook and Instagram, introduced a new privacy setting Thursday that lets you ask, pretty please, for the company not to use your data to train its AI models.

Buried in the nether regions of Facebooks Privacy Centera part of the website most people probably never visityoull find an entry called Generative AI Data Subject Rights. This form is where you can submit requests related to your third party information being used for generative AI model training, Facebook tells the weary travelers whove managed to stumble onto the page.

Here, you find three options. You can tell Facebook you want to access, download or correct any personal information, say you want to delete that personal information, or fill out a blank text box if you have a different issue.

Thomas Germain, Gizmodo

Its hardly an easy one-button opt in/out option, but its certainly a reminder that everything youve ever published on the internet could be seen as fair game for someone to pull into a large language model.

With social data, the potential could be quite alarming.

Imagine someone training a large language model on your posts. Maybe you publicly posted on Twitter in 2009 about the time you took you to the wrong school one morning when you were six years old. What about that comment on a friends photo that your favourite song in 2012 was Call Me Maybe?

These are silly, innocent little stories on their own. But if A.I. can build up enough of those little memories into a picture of your distant past, it could be used to create pretty effective ways of scamming or impersonating you.

What Meta is doing here is unlikely to lead to that scenario, but the fact the company has added a (quite buried) opt-out procedure is a reminder that what happens when deep personal data is combined with the latest A.I. tech is very much uncharted water.

If you thought the launch of a desktop web interface would be enough to kickstart a wave of fresh interest in Threads, it seems you were mistaken. Thats at least according to the latest data from Similarweb:

In the U.S., Threads website traffic jumped up by 20% over the past week (through Monday) compared with the week prior, but its not clear that this could be attributed to an influx of users, rather than to switchers moving from the native mobile app to the web.

Worldwide, the traffic bump from the web app launch was only 3%.

Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

So it seems existing users could be using the app more now its available on desktop (that certainly seems the case anecdotally), but it wasnt the push the platform needed excite a whole new batch of people.

A proper search function started rolling out as a test this week, and some Instagram users are being prompted to check out Threads posts they might like. While these might drive incremental increases in usage, were unlikely to push Threads back up to the heights it soared to in its first few days.

But its worth remembering that the 'Threads is dead' narrative comes from the fact it had insane take-up on day one, which was bound to drop massively. Most social platforms don't have huge mainstream media coverage around the world for two days when they launch.

Threads might gradually grow as its feature base improves and the frequency of essential, newsworthy conversations it hosts grows (this week, Geekout co-editor Martin even had a useful customer service interaction with a brand on Threads!) - but its not going to be fast.

It might simply be that a lot of the people who once loved Twitter are drifting away from this kind of social media entirely, and getting them back will require more than a web interface and proper search results.

Oh, and dont forget Ill be discussing Threads more in this webinar next week.

Metas Oversight Board has surprised its critics by being more effective than many thought possible. Its often made decisions that go against Zuck and cos preferences and proved its more than just a rubber-stamping PR exercise.

But is it overwhelmed by submissions and too slow to make a difference when it counts? A recent example of political violence in Cambodia took over half a year to work its way through the system.

When lives are at stake, is 234 days acceptable? Of course not. But when youre a Meta exec in Silicon Valley, or an Oversight Board member sitting in your nice office somewhere calm and stable in the world, events in distant places like Cambodia can seem a world away.

It seems Meta has some work to do to make sure its moderation (and the people who police it) are acting as swiftly as they can in the most serious cases.


爭 Brand social

A sign of the times or just Apple being Apple? The company is ditching social media support channels via X and YouTube. Reportedly, the company told staff that customers prefer telephone support.



Is this a social fail or PR masterstroke?

UK bird protection charity the RSPB has been in the news this week after it went in HARD against the government, and then rapidly backtracked.

Charities have a legal duty to be very careful how they engage with politics, so the apology isnt surprising. I can imagine trustees for the RSPB were getting a bit twitchy this week, perhaps for different reasons than usual.

But by leaving the post up after drawing a heap of media attention to it, have they made their point better than they ever could if they just quietly deleted it?

You can quote me on that

When Im quoted in the news, youll find it here:

I spoke to Insider about the one of the toughest job's in tech right now... Being the CEO at X.


Have social media managers finally reached breaking point?


Faking it

Apple boss Tim Cook joined Instagram and Threads this week. Apple execs even followed the account. Sounds legit? Nope.

New tool

This is a really handy way of making more use of your video content without much effort.

New app

No, BeFake is nothing to do with BeReal:

The apps name, a clear reference to BeReals authentic photo sharing among friends, is meant to suggest it does the opposite. Instead of showing what youre up to right now, BeFake users also snap photos with both the front and back cameras, but then customize their photos using AI technology using either in-app presets or custom prompts.

漎儭 Heads up

PSAs for social pros:



Remember the taxi driver who went viral 17 years ago after he accidentally ended up being interviewed on the news? Two decades on, hes decided he wants to get paid, but its not clear hes entitled to anything.


Show me the money

KSI isnt one of the winners of Elons ad revenue-share lottery:

孝 Top thread (not that Threads)

One way to get a lot of engagement on X is to write a thread about how to get engagement on X. This is a good one


All the ways A.I. is transforming social media:

Snapchat has officially launched its A.I. selfies feature, Dreams:

New feature spotlight

Instagram wants to help you make more of the best comments your content receive:

Social stats


More Meta News

  • Influencer brand deals are popular on Threads, even though the apps usage is relatively low. [AdAge $$$]

  • Instagram ads have a drug problem. [404 Media]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

New features and tests:


  • Facebook is working on letting you fully hide the main menu. [@oncescuradu]

  • Facebook is changing how it handles donation payments for charities. [@MattNavarra]


  • Instagram is working on an Astrology sticker and star sign compatibility checker. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram has improved feed post targeting options. [@adzflowers]

  • You can now promote Stories as ads via the Instagram Marketing API. [Meta News for Developers]

  • Instagram has added a Browse button for Stories. [@oncescuradu]

  • Instagram is testing banners that show trending music and new releases. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Instagram is testing silent messages for broadcast channels. [@techjalal]

  • Instagram has added the ability to share comments by others to Stories and Reels. [@oncescuradu]

  • It looks like you will no longer be able to chat with Facebook friends from Instagram as of mid-October. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram is working on a Quick Snap feature. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram is still working on A.I. tools for the Story editor. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram continues to work on a Photo Frames sticker. [@alex193a]


  • Threads is still working on voice posts that could have a limit of 30 seconds. [@alex193a]


  • WhatsApp is readying a big UI revamp. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp is working on avatar reactions for status updates. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp could soon let you share original quality pictures and videos. [The Verge]

  • WhatsApp is working on letting you hide your IP address during calls. [XDA Developers]

  • WhatsApp is testing new animations when you switch between audio and video calls. [Android Police]


  • Meta has launched a beta test of Horizon Worlds for mobile. [Social Media Today]

  • Want to work anywhere? Meta can turn any surface into a virtual keyboard. [UploadVR]

More X News

  • Elon Musk and X face 2,200 arbitration cases from disgruntled former employees. [Axios]

  • Elon Musk met then-Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal for a secret dinner in 2022 and said he was not the 'fire-breathing dragon' the platform needed. [Insider]

  • Some checkmarked X users are scamming consumers. [The Guardian]

  • Elon Musk escaped a police fine for illegally livestreaming on X while driving. [The Verge]

  • Elon Musk got booed and a video game tournament as the audience chanted Bring back Twitter! [Gizmodo]

New features and tests:

  • X looks likely to support passkeys for easy logins. [The Tape Drive]

  • X has tweaked the Community Notes algorithm to improve the chance the best notes continue to show as more votes come in. [@CommunityNotes]

  • X now shows how many image reposts across the platform show a specific Community Note. [@CommunityNotes]

  • X has added useful extra information to ad revenue share payouts. [Social Media Today]

  • X has added a swipe right to reply feature to DMs. [Social Media Today]

  • X has a new semi-transparent menu bar on iOS. [@MattNavarra]

  • Apple has launched its latest #AppleEvent hashmoji on X. [MacRumors]

More TikTok News

New features and tests:

  • TikTok live videos will only be saved for 30 days instead of 90s days from this coming Tuesday. [@jonah_manzano]

  • TikTok now offers a Creator Inbox feature. [@jonah_manzano]

  • TikTok has brought its AR Effect House out of beta. [Social Media Today]

  • TikTok has added filter buttons to help you sort through chats. [@jonah_manzano]

  • 地nd TikTok has added filters to the activities section, too. [@jonah_manzano]

  • TikTok has added caption translation. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok now offers content disclosure and audience controls features for text posts. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok has launched a new European Online Safety Hub as part of its compliance with the EU Digital Services Act. [TikTok]

  • Shopify is adding a new TikTok Shop integration as it tries to foind a way to play nice with an increasingly territorial TikTok. [The Information $$$]

More social media news and updates

  • Kick is emerging as a credible challenger to Twitch. [NBC News]

  • YouTube is working with MrBeast to promote NFL Sunday Ticket. [Variety]

  • Hackers are selling stolen police emails to try to grab personal data from TikTok and Facebook. [404 Media]

  • A federal judge has blocked Arkansas from enforcing a new law that would have required parental consent for minors to create new social media accounts. [Quartz]

  • Snapchat now has 8 million users in Australia. [Social Media Today]

  • Twitch has made it easier to qualify for the Partner Plus program. [TechCrunch]

  • Apple plans to stop offering support via X and YouTube from October. [MacRumors]

  • has fallen off the hype train already. [TechCrunch+ $$$]

  • Triller says it wont make money from its app. Instead, it will generate revenue by selling behind -the-scenes A.I. tech. [Insider $$$]

  • A new creators guild aims to protect online content creators. [TechCrunch]

  • US students SAT scores can leak to TikTok and Meta via tracking pixels, it has emerged. [Gizmodo]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • YouTube has answered your questions about the Shorts algorithm. [TechCrunch]

  • How to optimise your social media pages for search. [Search Engine Land]

New features and tests:

  • YouTube comments will now show in YouTube Music, too. [Android Police]

  • LinkedIn is working on passkey support for easy logins. [The Tape Drive]

  • Bluesky now lets you see your own likes. [TechCrunch]

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Weekend reading

And finally...

The truth that Big 5G doesnt want you to know

Back next week...

吃ou have made it to the end of this weeks Geekout.

Social Media IQ: +4pts. Ask your boss for a pay rise.

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Right Im off to figure out a new career path incase social media is dying!

Goodbye geeks



This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant

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