Meta is breaking up with news for good

… but Zuck’s living his best life in Japan 😎🍔

Hello, geeks!

Well hello again, you! Welcome to this week’s Geekout.

Before we dive in… I just discovered an awesome new AI powered tool for people who fear public speaking or giving work presentations. 🤖🔥

Back in social media land… It’s been another fiery week full of hot headlines, legal drama, and plenty of new meme-worthy moments…

… The Internet reacted to a disastrous viral Willy Wonka experience 💀

… A chatbot refused to say whether Elmo Mush (that was a typo but i'm leaving it in) is better than Adolf Hitler. 😬

… Zuck is in Japan and REALLY likes their McDonalds 🍔

… I discovered what the TikTok  ‘Hamstering’ trend is all about (people are weird) 😵

In more serious news… 

TikTok vs. Universal Music raging on, Facebook fully exiting the news business, and the future of free speech online in the U.S being decided in the Supreme Court.

All that, and the rest of this week’s updates, are coming up next. 

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Our hottest picks of the week:

  1. Facebook To Remove News Tab And Stop Paying Publishers For News [NEWS BREAKING]

  2. TikTok Removed Even More Music As Battle With Universal Rages On [MUTING]

  3. U.S. Supreme Court Is About To Decide The Future Of Online Speech [JUDGING

  4. Meta’s ‘Consent or Pay’ Data Grab In Europe Faces New Complaints [DATA-MINING]

  5. New Report Find Instagram + Facebook Are Platforming Sexually Exploitative Parents [DISTURBING]


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More music leaves TikTok. Will it ever come back?

If you thought Universal Music’s falling out with TikTok had calmed down and we were just waiting for a deal to be announced, think again. It’s just got a whole lot worse.

TikTok’s deal with Universal’s publishing arm has now expired. This means many more songs on non-Universal labels, but written by songwriters signed to Universal Music Publishing Group, could be taken down as soon as today.

Exactly how many songs we’re talking about isn’t clear, but it’s certainly another big chunk of the music TikTok users have had access to until now, and will include songs by the likes of Harry Styles and Adele.

This will lead to more silenced videos and fewer choices for TikTok creators. But TikTok itself might not be too worried.

As Erin Woo writes for The Information, TikTok is less focused on music than it used to be:

“As of this month [February], only around 15% of views on TikTok fell into traditional categories like singing, dancing and lip-syncing, which tend to be most dependent on music, with the rest made up of videos on topics such as lifestyle, education and culture. That means that music company deals may simply be less important to TikTok.”

With profitability and shopping at the core of TikTok’s priorities right now, music deals can take a back seat.

So has Universal overplayed its hand? Parts of the music industry have become reliant on TikTok to develop audiences for artists. That time might be be coming towards a close, or at least TikTok might be less effective in the future.

What could replace TikTok as a music marketing channel if that happens? I imagine that’s a question being asked across the music industry at the moment.

In the end though, it’s users who will ultimately lead the way. If they adapt to a TikTok with much less music, the company will see very little reason to accommodate Universal’s demands.


Should social posts auto-archive after a month?

We discovered this week that Threads is working on the ability to archive posts.

Having the choice for your old posts to disappear from public view is something many Twitter users asked for over the years.

It’s not fun to have some troll dig through your top-of-your-head, throwaway thoughts from years ago to find a post that unfairly paints you in a bad light.

And if you don’t feel like you’re going to be held accountable in a few years for a casual post today, you might post more.

While Twitter never implemented such a feature, Threads appears to be planning it.

But rather than bury it as an option, Threads boss Adam Mosseri suggested this week that all posts should be auto-archived after a month.

That would certainly stop the archive-trawling trolls, but Threads users are NOT into the idea, as the results of Mosseri’s poll (screenshot above) show.

Many users in the replies were baffled by the idea, which they saw as stopping Threads becoming a true Twitter replacement.

A Twitter replacement doesn’t need to exactly copy everything that Twitter was. But it’s clear that compulsory auto-archiving would be a step too far. Threads isn’t Snapchat, after all.

Mosseri might want to archive that particular poll if the feature eventually launches as an option for those who want it.



Everything else you need to know from the past seven days…


Instagram / Facebook

WhatsApp / Threads

Twitter (‘X’)



Telegram / LinkedIn / Substack / Mastodon



Here’s the thing that’s been impossible to escape this week… and something to think about next time someone says ‘let’s just use A.I. for the advertising images’: reality just can’t live up to what you’ve promised people!



News that Wendys was planning to introduce Uber-style surge pricing for burgers at peak times let to a lot of memes as people asked WTF:

Meanwhile, the hilariously terrible Willy Wonka experience was perfect meme fodder too:



It’s been a week of bad stuff going viral. First Google had to deny a hoax spread on X:

Also this week…

Platforms struggled to contain a graphic video of a man who set himself on fire.

As of Monday, an uncensored video of the incident had a view count of nearly 200,000.



This is a great look at “how an iconic pretzel brand that’s been around for 26 years continues to go viral over and over again”:



Thought TikTok was largely full of Gen-Z and younger? Think again:




“I don't tend to use the P word."



Instagram and Threads boss Adam Mosseri was in Japan and South Korea with Mark Zuckerberg this week, and he picked up some interesting insights worth sharing…

In Japan it's almost standard for young people to have at least three accounts: a main account, one for your closest friends, one of fandom account focused on a passion. It's also not unusual to have a very close friend account or multiple fandom interests accounts.


😮 WTF?!

If you don’t already know what ‘hamstering’ is, you’ll never guess.

One thing’s for sure - it’s NSFW and very, very silly:




Google’s much-hyped Gemini chatbot has had people cringeing in recent days. One of its biggest fails was being unable to say who was worse: Elon Musk or Hitler.

I’m no fan of Musk, but I think that’s one’s pretty clear…



I’m looking forward to friend of Geekout, Taylor Lorenz’s new video podcast with Vox Media.

Expect “a weekly video show centered around conversation and analysis fueled by Lorenz' reporting and online obsessions”



How does Steven Bartlett’s team pick the right thumbnail for his YouTube videos?

You might not expect the answer to be… Facebook ads.

Fraser Cottrell breaks it down over on X:


  • LinkedIn’s editor-in-chief says you’re wasting your time trying to game the ‘read more’ link in the feed



This is fun: Yolk is a social app with no text. You can only communicate with animated stickers that A.I. generates for you:


  • Former Twitter engineers have built Particle, an A.I. powered newsreader, now in closed beta… but you can sign up for the waitlist



Social media features heading for the graveyard:

If you have kids who use the YouTube Kids app on your TV, be prepared for it to stop working in July.

Instead, you’ll have to open up the normal YouTube app, where kids profiles will show up alongside your own. The Kids apps on iOS and Android are sticking around, though.



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



5 billion

Global social media users have passed the 5 billion milestone ...Equivalent to 62.3% of the world’s population.


  • X says that there are now more than 1 million open jobs posted in the app

  • Only around 15% of views on TikTok fall into traditional categories like singing, dancing and lip-syncing

  • Social media users find it hard to identify A.I. bots in political discussions, according to a new study

  • YouTube Content ID copyright claims increased 25% in a year

  • Snapchat is flagged in nearly half of all child abuse image cases in the UK



Here’s how the typical big YouTuber makes money, according to a new tool from Karat:



  • Australia is threatening action against Meta after it axed news payments. [Financial Times $$$]

  • Nevada has sued to deny kids access to Meta's Messenger encryption. [The Register]

  • Meta suffered another costly glitch that caused advertisers to overspend. [Business Insider]

  • New Mexico’s attorney general wants to know how Meta polices subscribers to accounts featuring children. [New York Times $$$]

  • Mark Zuckerberg is trying to avoid personal legal blame for Instagram or Facebook addiction. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Sex workers say their accounts are disappearing from WhatsApp. [Social Media Today]

  • Mark Zuckerberg took a business tour of Asia, with stops including Japan and South Korea. [New York Times $$$]

  • Meta has launched ‘Know What’s Real’ campaign to combat misinformation in India. [The Economic Times]

  • Meta will start collecting “anonymised” data about Quest headset usage. [Ars Technica]

  • Meta is sitting on a huge stockpile of AI chips as companies compete for limited supplies. [Business Insider]

  • Meta has dropped a lawsuit against web scraping firm Bright Data that sold millions of Instagram records. [TechCrunch]

  • Zuck sent a fan one of his old Facebook hoodies with a handwritten note. [Business Insider]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Instagram has highlighted high-performing brand marketing concepts to help with your planning. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:


  • Facebook’s professional dashboard has added a playlist manager for Reels. [@jonahmanzano]

  • Facebook is testing a new UI for profiles and Pages, letting you directly start a conversation without leaving the app. [@oncescuradu]

  • Facebook now lets you share a broadcast channel to your story. [@jonahmanzano]


  • Instagram now lets you mute Notes on posts and Reels. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram has new chat themes for the movies Dune 2, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Bob Marley: One Love. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram has added new labels for chat in business accounts. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram now labels any forwarded message from broadcast channels with the channel name. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram now offers the ability to switch between a Page or a Facebook profile for cross-posting. [@jonahmanzano]

  • Instagram is testing a new way to share profiles by showing a menu when you click on the profile picture. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram is testing replies for broadcast channels. [@oncescuradu]

  • Instagram may soon let your rename your Reels drafts. [@alex193a]


  • Threads has redesigned the layout of its reaction buttons. [@chris]

  • Threads has a new ‘Create with tag' option for starting a new post. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Threads has added a slight bounce when clicking on link attachments in posts. [@chris]


  • WhatsApp is testing the ability to copy links for specific messages from broadcast channels. [@theahmedghanem]

The rest: Creator Studio / Adtech / Quest and more:

  • Meta Business Suite has brought Leads Center to its iOS app. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Meta Quest+ subscribers get a new catalogue of games from today. [Meta Quest blog]



  • X is denying API access to academics who study misinformation, but that could break EU laws. [Fast Company]

  • X is fighting to preserve a federal lawsuit in California, but it has been accused of trying to intimidate and censor a non-profit organisation. [Washington Post $$$]

  • The late Matthew Perry’s X account was hacked by fraudsters. [Rolling Stone $$$]

New features and tests:

  • X has added a ‘view quotes’ option for posts. [@theahmedghanem]

  • X has a new UI for the Monetization section. [@theahmedghanem]

  • X could soon let users choose the quality of videos manually. [@nima_owji]

  • X has changed ‘Load in 4K’ to ‘Load in Higher Quality’. [@theahmedghanem]



  • TikTok is now nearly 100% compliance with Indonesian trade regulations, its partner GoTo says. [Reuter $$$]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • TikTok has shared insights into effective app marketing approaches on its platform. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:

  • TikTok is working on a ‘Creators Network Health Score’ for Live networks. [@theahmedghanem]

  • TikTok has renamed live partners from “Live Partner Agency” to “Live Creators Network”. [@theahmedghanem]



  • Florida has passed a sweeping bill to keep young people off social media. The bill will need to be signed by the state governor Ron DeSantis before becoming law. [New York Times $$$]

  • The Kids Online Safety Act is facing competition from other proposed US legislation. [The Verge]

  • Social platforms face new Canadian rules to hold them responsible for extremist material. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Some big Reddit users are unimpressed with the company’s offer of preferential IPO shares. [9to5Mac]

  • Reddit has downplayed the risks of developer backlash and decentralised social media listed in its IPO filing. [TechCrunch]

  • Russia seems to have been testing social media blackouts ahead of elections. [Reuters $$$]

  • Cameo is being used for political propaganda — by tricking the stars involved. [NPR]

  • YouTube has mysteriously restored a crypto billionaires’ attack ad against Katie Porter. [Gizmodo]

  • Instagram rival Lapse has raised $30 million from investors. [TechCrunch]

  • Twitch has been hit with a $315,000 fine for cutting services in South Korea. [TubeFilter]

  • LinkedIn has launched a new ad campaign for its Premium subscription. [Social Media Today]

  • Piers Morgan and Oprah Winfrey were deepfaked for a US influencer's self-help course ads. [BBC News]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • LinkedIn has published a guide to maximising campaign performance in the post-third-party-cookie era. [Search Engine Land]

New features and tests:

  • LinkedIn has a new “Drafts on this device” filter for DMs. [@oncescuradu]

  • Telegram now allows you to control Story quality. [@theahmedghanem]

  • CapCut has added a ‘Highlight caption keyword’ option on desktop. [@oncescuradu]

  • Bumble plans to build a social network around its ‘BFF’ friend-finding product. [TechCrunch]





Looks like Zuck had a fun week.

His business tour of Asia also gave him some downtime in Japan. He dined in a McDonald’s (not always easy for a billionaire!) and wielded a traditional Japanese katana sword:



… And that’s EVERYTHING new in social media this week.

Quick reminder…

  • The discounted Geekout 50% OFF Ad Slots are nearly all gone for March and April.

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Right then… Let’s get outta here. 👋👋 

I’m heading off to build my own Willy Wonka experience using an old trampoline in the garage, and leftover sweets from Halloween. Time to cash-in. 🍭

Goodbye, geeks!

p.s. This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant

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