Reddit's big standoff nears a showdown
Protesting mods could get the chop
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Given whispers of a certain someone coming back to Twitter 😬, it’s maybe not a bad idea to have somewhere new lined up.
As with last week, Matt’s schedule means he can’t write this week’s Geekout, but this is Martin (hello again 👋) bringing you all the week’s social media news in one place.
Matt’s back in the driving seat next week.
Unbelievably, the incredibly dumb Musk-Zuckerberg cage fight story keeps going.
Geekout Hot Five coming up… 👇
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Okay, here are the biggest stories of the week…
🔥 GEEKOUT HOT FIVE
Reddit Says It Will Kick Protesting Mods Out [SHOWDOWN]
Meta Plans To Allow App Downloads From Ads In EU [SHADOW APP STORE]
Meta Opens Up About How A.I. Works In Its Apps [TELL ME MORE]
Twitter To Launch Full Screen, Audio-On Video Ads [MONEY PLZ]
Meta Verified Is Going (Almost) Global [CHECKMARKS FOR ALL]
It’s that time… let’s dig into all the platform news you need to know from the last week in one place:
Instagram / Facebook:
Instagram is planning a mid-July launch for its Twitter rival (it reportedly won’t be compatible with Mastodon etc at first)… Meta is rolling out a ‘Why am I seeing this?’ feature for Instagram/Facebook Reels and Instagram Explore… Instagram is testing a new sticker that allows sharing posts to Stories without the caption… Instagram is offering a ‘Nearby’ option for Reels… Instagram is testing a block on explicit images in message requests…
Instagram has added a ‘View Channel’ button to chat… Instagram’s Quiet Mode is rolling out globally… Instagram now shows a top ‘Top Watched’ label on popular Reels… Instagram is letting you add polls to comments… Instagram is working on a ‘Weekly Live Challenge’…
WhatsApp Business users will soon be able to create Facebook and Instagram ads without a Facebook account and send personalised messages to customers…WhatsApp is releasing an advanced proxy configuration with chat and media settings… WhatsApp could soon work in VR!... WhatsApp is testing a high-quality video feature…
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Twitter has rolled out Highlights to Blue users… Twitter released its new emoji picker in DMs to all… Twitter looks close to launching its ad revenue share programme…. Twitter is finally adding a download video option… Twitter could soon let you only accept DMs only from verified users and people you follow… Twitter has brought back the page featuring a summary of your profile analytics…
TikTok is killing its BeReal clone… TikTok will open a physical store in the US… TikTok has launched a new creator monetisation feature called Creative Challenge… TikTok now lets live video creators offer subscriber-only videos… TikTok is testing new ‘not interested’ options… TikTok now lets you add your pronouns to your profile…
TikTok now offers a ‘watch and follow back’ option when you share a link to a video… TikTok has added an Artist Hub section for musicians…. TikTok might soon let you control whether others can use a post as a template… TikTok now lets you control whether or not your videos will be featured in the Nearby feed.
YouTube, Snapchat, Reddit, Pinterest, Telegram:
Snapchat+ has clocked up 4 million paid subscribers in its first year and will soon launch expressive chat messages and custom chat colours for paying subscribers… Snapchat is testing a ‘Share My Live Location’ feature… Snap wants to patent an ‘avatar call platform’…
Reddit is working on accessibility upgrades for moderators… Twitch will soon require new labels for streams with sexual themes, gambling, and M-rated games… Pinterest wants to patent a method for “generating personalised content” based on your email data… and Telegram is adding Stories - they held off for years, but users apparently apparently really wanted it.
DID YOU SEE… 👀
Okay, are you ready for Geekout’s analysis of some of the week’s biggest or most interesting stories?
You’d better be - it’s mere pixels below… 👇
🚨 Everyone's talking about...
The weeks-long standoff between Reddit and some of its most influential users over new API usage fees could be nearing an end.
The Verge reports that mods who still have their subreddits set to private are to be removed as soon as the end of this week… and it’s already Friday, so that won’t be long.
But the risks of getting this tough on your own users are pretty obvious:
Yep, mods might just misbehave in other ways, or new mods might take once valuable subreddits in undesirable directions, and that’s not great for the platform as a whole.
Reddit mods continue to call for an ‘affordable return’ for third-party apps as the dispute with the platform’s management continues. And while popular apps like Apollo are set to close their doors today, at least one third-party Reddit app will live on. Narwhal plans to continue but with a different business model.
But even if the result of this spat is a somewhat less useful platform, Reddit needs to end the protest quickly. New usage stats show worrying declines, and an increase in one-star App Store reviews can’t help.
And it’s not just Reddit that is affected. A leaked Google meeting reveals the company’s users haven’t been happy with search engine results since the Reddit blackout protest began.
You probably never used IRL. But then almost no-one did. The company was caught faking its user numbers, and within days the $1 billion startup was toast.
The company’s board investigated after employees raised suspicions that the supposed 20 million user count was bogus.
As it gets harder for startups to raise investment in the current economic climate, I wouldn’t be surprised if some other social media platforms are found to have been sketchy with their numbers.
But hey, 95% of their users being fake is juicily ironic for a startup focused on meeting ‘in real life’.
TikTok made an interesting announcement this week:
While this youth council is apparently still months from launch, I really like the idea.
Most of the focus on young users from social platforms centres around parents. Just this week we heard that TikTok now lets parents filter out videos they don't want their children to see, and Facebook lets parents see who kids are talking to on Messenger.
But isn’t listening to young people themselves worthwhile? It has echoes of Meta’s Oversight Board, which was widely regarded as a toothless PR move when it launched but has repeatedly held the company to account in ways it might have preferred to avoid.
And while TikTok’s youth council is unlikely to have that kind of clout, just having something a bit more formal than occasional focus groups could help make sure TikTok is a platform that works as well for kids as it does for their parents.
😆 LOL tweets
Entertainment Weekly’s social media manager kept it real this week (h/t @heyvickijakes):
I am a 31-year-old with student loan debt, a useless journalism degree, and bills to pay. Just like the tweet and go.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW)
Jun 28, 2023
hello, plz appreciate this real life Crocs ad running right now
— Dan Pantelo (@danpantelo)
Jun 25, 2023
📈 Trending meme
Things got grim with Grimace this week, as Know Your Meme explains:
“The Grimace Shake Trend, also known as the Grimace Shake Incident and Grimace Shake Death, refers to a series of parody horror videos that depict people dying or going insane after drinking the McDonald's Grimace Milkshake.”
I always thought that purple boy was suspicious.
The format works like this…
The new Grimace shake review! Happy birthday Grimace😁
But this one is up with the best:
this is my favourite grimace milkshake video
— michael (@ranbooiscool)
Jun 28, 2023
…it became so big that even McDonald’s couldn’t ignore the trend:
meee pretending i don't see the grimace shake trendd
— McDonald's (@McDonalds)
Jun 27, 2023
🤫 Overheard whispers
This would be really useful for a certain type of LinkedIn user…
Overheard: LinkedIn working on shared analytics feature for companies / creators
LinkedIn users would be able to share page/post analytics with a client for a campaign
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra)
Jun 28, 2023
All the ways A.I. is transforming social media:
It’s been a quiet week for new A.I.-based features, but this one’s worth mentioning as it’s now out in the wild: some users can now get A.I. help to write their posts on LinkedIn.
Up-and-coming influencers found themselves accused of being used to wash away allegations of labour abuses, after they toured a Shein factory recently.
“As commenters were quick to point out on these influencers’ posts, it’s difficult to believe that what we see in these videos reflects the reality of Shein factory working conditions. Rather, this was a highly curated brand trip wherein influencers are offered free travel opportunities and gifts, encouraging them to promote a favourable image of the company.”
And don’t miss:
What Shein’s misstep means for the influencer marketing industry
Feel like you’ve seen Barbie everywhere lately? Tap through for this thread that shows you’ve probably only just scratched the surface… 👇
The devil works hard, but @Barbie’s marketing team is INSANE
Small visual thread of all their awesome work as of late:
— Moshe Isaacian (@MosheIsaacian)
Jun 26, 2023
🪧 Brand social
Apple TV made good use of Twitter’s super-long video uploads this week, to post an entire episode of its series Silo in a tweet:
3 days until the #Silo finale.
Here’s the entire first episode.
— Apple TV (@AppleTV)
Jun 27, 2023
“People are reportedly using Meta's open-source large language model LLaMA, to create graphic, guardrail-less AI sexbots.”
A.I.-generated tweets might be more convincing than real people, research finds
Social media features heading for the graveyard:
I guess this means the BeReal trend is dead. RIP TikTok Now.
WhatsApp is killing off its old Electron-based Windows app, forcing you to switch to the new native one. [WABetaInfo]
💡 New feature spotlight
Passkeys are popping all over the place as a secure way of staying logged in without the need for a password.
It’s good to see TikTok getting involved:
#TikTok users can now use passkeys to log in to their accounts
— Ahmed Ghanem (@ahmedghanem)
Jun 29, 2023
👀 Reads of the week
Father of the hashtag, Chris Messina, has some thoughts on how they could evolve as Bluesky looks to treat them differently:
📄 Report of the week
Want to understand YouTube in 2023? Look no further…
💬 You can quote me on that
When Matt’s mentioned in the news, you’ll find it here:
Matt gave his thoughts to CMSWire on Lush stepping away from social:
📊 Stats of the week
Goodbye Metaverse, hello AI
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra)
Jun 29, 2023
The most-followed and fastest-growing news publishers on Instagram
Instagram is planning a mid-July launch for its Twitter rival. It reportedly won’t be compatible with the fediverse at first. [@alexeheath]
Facebook almost acquired Waze a decade ago. [Post]
Instagram is outpacing TikTok for user growth. [Forbes $$$]
Instagram has reversed its ban on dozens of kink and sex positive creators. [Fast Company]
EU officials met Mark Zuckerberg to discuss Meta’s compliance with incoming digital rules. [@nickclegg]
VR meetings will coexist with, not replace, videoconferencing, a meta exec says. [Computer World]
Insights to give you an edge at work:
New features and tests:
Instagram is rolling out a ‘Why am I seeing this?’ feature for Reels and Explore page. [TechCrunch]
Instagram is testing a new sticker that allows sharing posts to stories without the caption. [@ahmedghanem]
Instagram has been spotted offering a ‘Nearby’ option for Reels. [@ahmedghanem]
Instagram is testing a feature to block explicit images in direct message requests. [The Guardian]
Instagram has added a ‘View Channel’ button to chat. [@ahmedghanem]
Instagram’s Quiet Mode is rolling out globally. [Gizmodo]
Instagram has added a new ‘Account Recommendations’ section to Account Status, to show you if your content is eligible to be recommended. [@ahemdghanem]
Instagram now shows a top ‘Top Watched’ label with a total number of plays for popular Reels videos. [@yousufortaccom]
Instagram has been spotted letting you add a poll to the comments of a post. [@MartijnCales]
Instagram is working on a ‘Weekly Live Challenge’ feature. [@oncescuradu]
Instagram is working on a redesigned stickers tray. [@alex193a]
Instagram has added a ‘Shared Activity’ section in the “three-dots” profile menu. [@oncescuradu]
Instagram now shows in Stories which Highlight a Story was added to. [@MartijnCales]
WhatsApp Business users will soon be able to create Facebook and Instagram ads without a Facebook account and send personalised messages to customers. [WABetaInfo]
WhatsApp is testing WhatsApp is releasing an advanced proxy configuration with chat and media settings. [WABetaInfo]
WhatsApp could soon work with the Meta Quest platform. [WABetaInfo]
WhatsApp is testing new menu options that appear when you copy a link in a message. [@ahmedghanem]
WhatsApp is working on some interface tweaks on Android. [WABetaInfo]
WhatsApp is testing a welcome tweak to the bottom navigation bar. [WABetaInfo]
WhatsApp is testing a new media picker with numbered thumbnails. [WABetaInfo]
WhatsApp is testing a high-quality video feature. [WABetaInfo]
The rest: Creator Studio/adtech/Quest and more:
Meta Verified will roll out to “most markets around the world” in the coming months. [@MetaNewsroom]
Meta has launched Quest+, a subscription offering two VR games per month. [TechCrunch]
Meta says it has improved the performance of the Quest 2 and Quest Pro [The Verge]
More evidence has emerged that the Quest 3 will have a 4128×2208 resolution. [UploadVR]
…but Linda Yaccarino can’t do ad deals herself because of her agreement with her previous employer. [New York Times $$$]
Twitter is starting to suspend API access for popular bots. [Mashable]
Twitter is working on more brand safety solutions to make advertisers happy. [AdWeek $$$]
…and Twitter wants to rejoin the industry group to fight CSAM. [Wall Street Journal $$$]
…in the same week violent and disturbing videos were found in its TikTok-like feed. [NBC News]
Twitter's API keeps breaking, even for developers paying $42,000 per month. [Mashable]
The UK man who pleaded guilty to the big celebrity Twitter hack of 2020 has been sentenced to five years in a US prison. [The Guardian]
New features and tests:
Twitter has rolled out Highlights to let Blue users showcase their best tweets in a separate profile tab. [@TwitterBlue]
Twitter has rolled out its new emoji picker in DMs. [@512×512]
Twitter looks close to launching its ad revenue share programme. [@alex193a]
Twitter is finally adding a download video option. [@MattNavarra]
Twitter is working on letting you choose to receive direct messages only from verified users and people you follow. [@alex193a]
Twitter has been spotted having added predictive search back. [@jlemonsk]
And Twitter has brought back the page featuring a summary of your profile analytics. [@512×512]
Young users appear to be losing interest in TikTok’s search features. [TubeFilter]
TikTok is offering free listings and shipping and zero commissions ahead of the launch of its US ecommerce offering. [Bloomberg $$$]
TikTok is funding Montana users’ lawsuit against the state’s ban on the app. [New York Times $$$]
TikTok’s fickle algorithm is leading to burnout for content creators. [Bloomberg $$$]
A top lawyer at TikTok has used an internal memo to accuse the media of spreading disinformation about the company. [Forbes $$$]
TikTok is on the hunt for brands to sponsor its most popular communities. [Digiday $$$]
The White House plans to use TikTok creators to maintain a presence on the platform as part of Joe Biden’s re-election campaign. [NBC News]
New features and tests:
TikTok has launched a new creator monetisation feature called Creative Challenge. [The Verge]
TikTok now lets live video creators offer subscriber-only videos. [@TikTokComms]
TikTok is testing options to say if you are not interested in the current live video, the creator themself, or even all live videos. [@ahmedghanem]
TikTok now lets you add your pronouns to your profile. [@ahmedghanem]
TikTok is adding an “Add to story” button to the top action menu. [@oncescuradu]
TikTok now offers a ‘watch and follow back’ option when you share a link to a video. [@MattNavarra]
TikTok has added the ability to display 'Live Subscription' directly on you profile, although currently not all users will see it. [@jonah_manzano]
TikTok has added an Artist Hub section for musicians. [@jonah_manzano]
TikTok is working on the ability to control whether others can use a post as a template. [@oncescuradu]
TikTok now lets you control whether or not your videos will be featured in the Nearby feed. [@ahmedghanem]
💥 More social media news and updates
Some Snapchat creators are posting hundreds of times a day to over-share their life. [Insider $$$]
YouTube is testing a more aggressive 3-strikes rule to fight ad blockers. [Android Police]
Twitch will soon require new labels for streams with sexual themes, gambling, and M-rated games. [TechCrunch]
Streaming app Kick appears to be luring some disgruntled Twitch streamers. [TechCrunch]
Discord’s CEO says he is 'horrified' by reports of child abuse and abduction on the platform. [Sky News]
Jack Dorsey-based decentralised social app Damus will be removed from App Store, as Apple says it violates its payments policy. [TechCrunch]
New UK proposals could see 6-month jail terms for sharing or creating deepfakes and revenge porn. [BBC News]
…and new changes to the Online Safety Bill will order platforms such as TikTok to protect young users from harm or injury. [The Guardian]
Australia is preparing laws that would fine social media companies over disinformation. [The Age]
MrBeast claims he declined an invitation to ride on the tragically lost Titan submersible. [Insider]
Insights to give you an edge at work:
Snapchat has shared new insights into what Gen Z consumers want from brands. [Social Media Today]
New features and tests:
YouTube is testing an online games offering called 'Playables'. [Wall Street Journal $$$]
YouTube Premium now lets you earn badges. [9to5Google]
YouTube is testing a new thumbnail A/B testing feature. [Social Media Today]
YouTube has rolled out changes to analytics in Studio to reduce the pressure of data comparison. [Social Media Today]
Snapchat will soon launch expressive chat messages and custom chat colours for paying subscribers. [Axios]
Snapchat has been spotted offering a ‘Share My Live Location’ feature. [@ahmedghanem]
Snap is seeking to patent an ‘avatar call platform’ which displays your avatar instead of you on a video call, and “moves in a way that matches what the caller is saying”. [Patent Drop]
Reddit says accessibility upgrades for moderators are coming to its mobile apps soon. [The Verge]
Reddit client Apollo has received its last update, featuring refund rejection and ‘goodbye wallpapers’. [9to5Mac]
Pinterest is seeking to patent a method for “generating personalised content” based on a user’s email data. [Patent Drop]
Telegram is adding Stories - they held off, but user demand was apparently high. [TechCrunch]
Signal will soon let you send add rich text formatting in messages. [Android Police]
📖 Weekend reading
How American companies are held hostage by the whims of TikTok. [Wall Street Journal $$$]
😳 And finally...
Bringing a whole new meaning to ‘shoot your shot’: “An Indiana woman who was robbed at gunpoint was later asked out by the perpetrator on Facebook.”
📅 Back next week...
And that’s your lot. 🙌 You are well and truly geeked out and genned up.
Matt’s back at the keyboard next week (I’m always lurking somewhere nearby though!).
I’m heading off to enjoy the weekend. Enjoy yours!