Silicon Valley is trying to make social audio a thing (again)

…Is Airchat hot… or just hot air? 💬

Hello, geeks!

You know that feeling when you say to yourself at the end of a night out “just one more drink”... then regret it.

That’s me here right now at 5am writing this newsletter. More on that in a moment. 🤢

But first… TikTok just added a surprising NEW button on videos. Some people REALLY don’t like it. 😱


Last night, I was invited to an invite-only event at China’s UK Spy Agency HQ TikTok’s UK HQ.

The always lovely Beth Thomas, TikTok Live Campaign Manager, hosted the special TikTok Live themed event, which was attended by some of the UK’s top social media talent from brands like ASOS, BBC, RyanAir, Xbox, Dominos, and more.

Once the event wrapped, a hardcore few (*cough Beth Thomas cough Michael “RyanAir” Corcoran and [redacted]*) decided to carry on the party at an undisclosed bar in Farringdon, London. 

This was mistake number 1.

At around midnight, an even smaller number of us decided we would have one last drink. And talk social media industry gossip. My lips 🤐

This was mistake number 2. ❌❌

There may or may not be incriminating photo evidence lurking around. I just hope the video doesn’t get out. 😬 

And big mistake number 3? ❌❌❌

█ █████ ████ ███ ███ ████████ ██████ ███ ██ ███ █ ███ ████████ [redacted]

I have said too much. (i do accept bribes for more information)



LinkedIn is going all-in on video in 2024. Creators are already mining their long-form video content for super-sharable clips.

Several top creator friends of mine can’t stop raving about this NEW A.I.-powered video tool which is saving them hours every week 👇🔥

The New AI-Powered Video Tool Top LinkedIn Creators Swear By

LinkedIn is getting its own TikTok-like video feed. Bitesize, shareable clips from long-form videos are about to take off on the platform. 🚀

…But creating the clips can take hours! Finding the most engaging clips, manually editing and formatting… Feels like a chore! 😏 

Not anymore…! Munch's advanced AI transforms lengthy videos into bite-sized, LinkedIn-optimized clips in just a few clicks.

Munch doesn’t just repurpose videos, its AI goes deep to analyse the video’s content - objects, facial expressions, speech, and tone of voice - and makes editing decisions based on what the best moments in the video really are.

No more endless re-editing, researching keywords, adding subtitles etc.

Simply add your video from a link or file, and Munch will create dozens of shorts in minutes.

... And top LinkedIn creator's are loving it already. ❤️

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Geekout’s pick of the hottest headlines in social this week…

  1. Airchat Becomes Latest Invite-Only Social App Trying To Make Audio Cool [HYPING]

  2. Elon Musk Confirms Plans To Charge New X Users To Enable Posting [BOT-BATTLING]

  3. TikTok Started Testing Its Instagram Competitor App Notes [CLONING]

  4. Meta’s AI Assistant Rolls Out Across Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp [CHATBOTTING]

  5. Meta Releases Llama 3 Claiming It’s Among Best Open AI Models [COMPETING].

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Airchat is hot, but is it just hot air?

Every now and then, a new social app comes along that offers something new, gets a load of hype, but ultimately goes nowhere. Is that the fate of Airchat?

Coming from former top folks at (Product Hunt parent company) AngelList and Tinder, Airchat is an audio-first social network. But it’s nothing like Clubhouse. Instead it’s more like Twitter but where tweet with your voice. You can add video if you like, but at the very least you need to let everyone hear your words.

There are a couple of things in Airchat’s favour. First, it’s really slick. Top Silicon Valley talent has worked on this, and it shows. Your words are auto-transcribed into text really well, and it can even detect when to tag another user automatically.

And while Threads allows you to attach audio to a post that auto-transcribes, there’s something to be said for forcing people to speak. Nuance that would be lost in text (and has led to countless arguments on text-based networks over the years) is clearer, which could lead to deeper and more respectful conversations.

And yet, for all the hype, Airchat has attracted a cynical reaction from many.

As Ryan Broderick puts it, the app is boring as hell, as the same Silicon Valley influencers as usual jostle to gain big followings:

The real reason I think Airchat is the ultimate sign of the end of Web 2.0 is that every new app now (that isn’t run by Bytedance) launches by dropping these same weirdos into a new enclosure. It’s the same 250 cool product managers and white nationalist crypto backpack zoomers jumping from one friendship casino to another.

Meanwhile, Dave Lee at Bloomberg is concerned about Airchat’s terms of service. They’re as broad as any other new social app that rushes out generic ToS text and upsets early users. But in the age of generative A.I., letting a company do whatever it wants with your voice sounds a bit risky.

Airchat is invite-only at the moment, but don’t worry if you don’t have access yet. It looks like its appeal might already be waning.

As interesting as Airchat is, it will probably be a flash in the pan that suffers the same fate Clubhouse.


TikTok’s Notes-able shift into trad social

I talk about TikTok a lot in this newsletter, but it’s not a social app in the traditional sense. It’s far more about consumption than it is about creation for most people.

So that’s why it’s interesting to see TikTok get into the more traditional social world with the Instagram-like Notes.

The app launched this week in Canada and Australia. It’s basically just another photo-sharing app, but with an emphasis on carousels.

You can add up to 34 images to a single post. They are presented as a side-scrolling collection. And you can add up to 4,000 characters of text as a caption, along with a title for your post.

TikTok is pitching the app as an “experiment”, so it might not be around for long.

Whether it will encourage people who just use TikTok to swipe through videos to share photos away from Instagram, or whether it will become a place for TikTok creators to connect with their audience in a new way remains to be seen.




Everything else worth knowing from the past seven days…

Meta / Facebook 👥

  • EU regulators look set to stop Meta offering users a “Pay for Privacy” option

  • Mark Zuckerberg has overtaken Elon Musk as the world‘s third-richest person.

  • Facebook has added cross-posting to Threads

  • Facebook has added a new 'Nonprofit Manager' feature to the Pages Professional Dashboard

  • Mark Zuckerberg has avoided personal liability in social media addiction lawsuits

  • Mark Zuckerberg says he came up with the Facebook ‘Poke’ when he was drunk. Figures.

  • Meta’s Oversight Board is reviewing the company’s deepfake nude policies

  • Meta wants its Quest headsets to be used in schools


Threads / WhatsApp 💬

Twitter (‘X’) 🤡

  • Elon Musk has touted bringing back Vine… Again (things getting real desperate over at X HQ) 🙄🙄

  • X is set to replace action buttons with swiping gestures on posts

  • X now lets you create Spaces on desktop

  • Elon Musk and X has backed down in its free speech standoff against Brazil (that didn’t last long!)

  • X is offering ad credits to encourage brands to buy a gold checkmark

  • DoubleVerify apologised for misreporting X’s brand-safety rates for over four months

  • …but Hyundai has paused its ad spend on X, after it found that its promotions were being displayed alongside pro-Nazi content

YouTube 📺

TikTok 📱

LinkedIn / Snapchat / CapCut / More… 👻

🔥 Want to see more hot NEW features spotted in the wild this week?
Just head to the ‘More news’ section below!



When I’m quoted in the news, you’ll find it here:

I spoke to Vogue Business about how brands can future-proof themselves against changing shopping habits. Can’t access the link below? Psst)




I have nothing to say, except this is spot on…


#Parody #ManagementConsulting #CorporateAmerica #Accenture #McKinsey #Bain #BCG #Investmentbanking #BusinessSchool #Comedysketch



Grimes’ nightmare Coachella DJ set got the memes flowing…



TikTok star Leah Halton is set to break the ‘most liked video’ record on the platform, currently held by Bella Poarch.

As of Monday, Halton had 700 million views, 44.8 million likes, 1.5 million comments, and 4 million saves.


  • MrBeast is hurtling towards overtaking Indian entertainment brand T-Series as the most-subscribed channel on YouTube. And T-Series is serious about fighting back…



So… About Billie Eilish adding millions of her followers as Close Friends on Instagram…

It looks likely that this was a Meta partnership to promote Billie’s new album and to promote the Close Friends feature.

According to CrowdTangle, in just two days Billie's account saw a 6.4% growth rate, with over 6 million new followers eager to be on her 'Close Friends' story.

Lia Haberman mentions in her newsletter how Meta has done similar partnerships in the past:



I mentioned this above, but it’s worth highlighting properly.

Ryan Broderick eloquently sums up the Airchat experience…


😮 WTF?!

Meta is making a big deal of its latest A.I. features but they still have a way to go to avoid being occasionally creepy…




“Shooting bricks in basketball and throwing bricks at people’s homes are NOT the same thing, Grok.”



Social media features heading for the graveyard:

It’s RIP to Threads if you’re in Turkey. Meta says it’s temporary, but it’s unclear how long it will be gone…

  • Instagram is killing its Flipside feature before it ever really launched

  • Reminder: shops must update their checkout to use Meta’s payment platform by April 24th or it’ll be RIP to them on Facebook and Instagram



Reddit has a wealth of useful info, but it can be hard to find the best.

The GigaBrain extension. for Chrome scans billions of discussions on Reddit to find the most useful posts and comments for you.




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

Meta is adding a cool real-time A.I. image generator to WhatsApp in the US:



1 billion

– The number of users Telegram says it’s on course to hit within the next year

  • At least 150 verified Premium on X accounts have posted or amplified pro-Nazi content

  • YouTube accounted for nearly 10% of all TV viewing in March, Nielsen says

  • Snap has offered salaries starting at $45,282 and reaching $500,000 — and even $1.95 million for one job.

  • Facebook Marketplace saw US desktop visits jump 15% this February compared to a year earlier, as overall traffic to the site dropped 4%

  • Reddit banned 792 users for repeat copyright policy violations in the second half of 2023, an increase of 258% compared to the first half of the year

  • LinkedIn revealed its annual Top 50 Companies To Work For in the US list

  • Big tech ad transparency scored as low as zero in Mozilla research



UK regulator Ofcom says almost a quarter of kids aged 5-7 have smartphones

“Over half of children under 13 used social media, contrary to most of the big platforms' rules, and many admitted to lying to gain access to new apps and services.”



  • Meta’s ‘consent or pay’ tactic must not prevail over privacy, EU rights groups have warned. [TechCrunch]

  • Facebook blocking news can lead to “profound and disturbing” changes in how users engage with information about politics, a study has found. [Reuters $$$]

  • Meta’s Quest 2 has had its second permanent price cut in four months. [Engadget]

  • Apple has pulled WhatsApp and Threads from App Store in China. [9to5Mac]

  • Adtech giants like Meta must give EU users real privacy choice, says European Data Protection Board. [TechCrunch]

  • The rollout of Meta’s A.I. chatbot on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp brings with it risks of misinformation. [Washington Post $$$]

  • Instagram launched a creator challenge with possible cash prize for posting on Threads. [@jonahmanzano]

  • Meta has issued a reminder that shops must update their checkout to use its payment platform by 24 April to remain visible on Facebook and Instagram. [@MattNavarra]

  • Child safety campaigners aren’t happy with WhatsApp’s reduced minimum age in the US and UK. [Sky News]

  • The SEC has blocked staff from using WhatsApp on their work phones. [Yahoo Finance]

  • Palmer Luckey and John Carmack argued publicly with Meta’s CTO over Luckey's firing. [Upload VR]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • How ESPN, LADbible, and more achieve success with their Facebook Pages. [NewsWhip]

  • How the Threads algorithm works in 2024. [Hootsuite blog]

  • Meta has shared new tips for using Lead Gen ads. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:


  • Facebook now lets you to create Reels from photos. [@oncescuradu]

  • Facebook has added ‘Location suggestions’ for Reels. [@oncescuradu]

  • Facebook now allows you to pin ads in your ad account on desktop. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Facebook has added a new 'Creation' tab to the Pages Professional Dashboard, offering help for creators to produce more engaging content. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Facebook now allows you to pin messages in broadcast channel. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Facebook now lets you turn on automatic billing for prepaid ad accounts. [@theahmedghanem]


  • Instagram is still working on the ability to lock and hide chats. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram now displays messages sent outside of vanish mode before it is enabled. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram appears to be testing a redesigned share sheet. [@nickysweet857]

  • Instagram has added the ability to hide reactions you don't want anyone to use on your broadcast channel posts. [@theahmedghanem]


  • Threads is testing a ‘Recent’ option for search results. [@MattNavarra]

  • Threads could soon add the post composer at the top of the feed. [@alex193a]

  • Threads is working to extend control over who can reply to a post to include quotes. [@alex193a]


  • WhatsApp could soon let you add notes to contacts. [Android Police]

  • WhatsApp could soon let you attach a message to your notes. [Android Police]

  • WhatsApp has added a banner prompting existing users to invite others to use the app. [Android Police]

  • WhatsApp is getting a redesigned sidebar on the web. [Android Police]

  • WhatsApp Business now shows tips to help businesses improve their accounts. [@theahmedghanem]

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

  • Meta has launched a Smart Screen program that aims to help parents navigate conversations about using devices safely. [Meta Newsroom]

  • Meta is working on a travel mode for using Quest headsets during flights. Apple’s Vision Pro launched with the feature. [9to5Mac]



  • X has been blocked in Pakistan “in the interest of upholding national security”. [Reuters $$$]

  • X is withholding some political posts in India following an order by the country’s election commission. [Reuters $$$]

  • Tesla has spent $200,000 advertising on X so far. [TechCrunch]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • X has announced a new webinar to help advertisers make the most of its platform. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:

  • X now has a waitlist for its recruitment feature. [@jonahmanzano]

  • X now asks community admins to customise Adult Content settings by flagging their communities as adult communities. [@theahmedghanem]



  • Some TikTok employees say the company worked closely with ByteDance in China despite claiming not to. [Fortune $$$]

  • The FCC’s chair has backed the TikTok ban bill. [Deadline]

  • Taylor Swift’s return to TikTok shows how she’s more powerful than her record label. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • 17 creators have signed open letter asking President Biden to reconsider the TikTok ban. [TubeFilter]

  • TikTok Live is helping some indie games find a larger audience. [NBC News]

  • Some music-focused creators are struggling following UMG pulling its content from TikTok. [Marketing Brew]

  • TikTok will stage first live music pop-up for emerging artists in London next week. [TikTok Newsroom]

New features and tests:

  • TikTok is rolling out the option to @mention other accounts in your bio. [@MattNavarra]

  • TikTok has added filters to music search. [@theahmedghanem]

  • TikTok now shows an upload progress bar on profiles. [@theahmedghanem]

  • TikTok now shows a ‘Get informed on the European elections’ label on clips published by politicians. [@oncescuradu]



  • YouTube Shopping has a plan to beat rivals in affiliate marketing. [Business Insider]

  • UK ministers want big tech companies to provide more parental control features in their products. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Bluesky now lets heads of state join the platform. [Engadget]

  • TikTok rival Triller is to merge with AGBA, creating $4 billion social media and financial services company. [Music Business Worldwide]

  • Scammers are targeting teenage boys on social media—and driving some to suicide. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Fake sexual image creators in the UK could face prison under new a proposed law. [Sky News]

  • Reddit has reported a surge in copyright-related user bans. [TorrentFreak]

  • Big Tech’s ad transparency tools are still woeful, Mozilla research has found. [TechCrunch]

New features and tests:

  • YouTube is testing subscription sorting and and improved upload flow for ‘members only’ Shorts. [Social Media Today]

  • Snapchat has added a 'My Brand on Snapchat’ ad goal, to drive traffic to your Snapchat profile. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Snapchat now lets you add another friend when replying to a Story. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Snapchat now allows business profiles to post, schedule stories and spotlights, and save Stories to public profiles from desktop. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Snapchat has new features and filters for festival season. [Social Media Today]

  • Snapchat now allows users to add admins to their business profiles. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Substack Notes feature is getting more Twitter-like features. [TechCrunch]

  • Bluesky posts are now embeddable. [@oncescuradu]

  • Amazon has brought its ‘Amazon Live’ shoppable video to Prime Video and Freevee. [TechCrunch]

  • Truth Social says it’s working on a video streaming platform. [The Guardian]





This might be at-tractor-ive to some Geekout readers…

John Deere is hiring a CTO — that's Chief Tractor Officer — to help launch its TikTok channel

One winning applicant will receive up to $192,300 to traverse the country over the next several months showcasing the way John Deere products are used by workers…



… You have reached the end. And so have I.

You don’t know how relieved I feel to finish writing this week’s Geekout.

Due to attending the TikTok event yesterday, less than 25% of it was written as at 11pm last night, when usually it’s 75% done.

Note to myself: Don’t party with TikTok staff until 1 am on a school night and start writing it when you get back to your hotel room at 2am!

Any typos spotted this week were delibertae.

Right… I’m off to jump on a packed train home from London. Shades on. Hood up. Hungover as hell. But newsletter done.

Goodbye, geeks!

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

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