Instagram cleans up dupe content to help smaller creators

…And TikTok and Universal Music are friends again 🎤❤️

Hello, geeks!

Well hello you. Welcome to this week’s Geekout.

Before we kick things off this week…

The BIG 450-slide Digital 2024 Global Digital Statshot report is out.

I read it for you and 👉 summarised the WILDEST social media stats. 👈


It’s been a quieter week for me this week after my work trip to Belgium (via Amsterdam last week… But…

Next week, I’m heading to Germany to speak at the awesome OMR Festival. (See ‘Don’t miss this’ info below).

I just found out social media friend Taylor Lorenz will be there. We’ve known each other for over 10 years, but have never met IRL!

I’m looking forward to hanging out with her in Hamburg. We’ll take a selfie and share here in next week’s Geekout.


Epic AI Fail… 💀

I needed to quickly edit a Geekout promo image for a cross-promo in another newsletter a few days ago.

I tried to use a generative AI tool to help me out. It failed. Epicly. 💀👆

It generated 3 more hideous images like this. View the insanity here.


Watch for FREE… 👀

You can now watch my speaker session from the VLCM event in Belgium last week.

I spoke about the state of social in 2024, my life as a social media manager with ADHD, wild stories from my 15+ years working in social, and more.


Don’t Miss This…

Get ready for OMR Festival – With Kim Kardashian, Scott Galloway, Tim Ferris, and a social media geek from Bristol, UK. 😁 

This is going to be a good one 👇🔥 Put it in you calendar for next week.

The World’s Smartest Marketing Minds At OMR Festival 2024

The OMR event in Hamburg, Germany, is Europe's must-not-miss digital marketing festival.

Over two days, 70,000 attendees join 800 speakers' talks, 240 masterclasses, and explore 1,000 exhibitors. It’s HUGE!

This year's keynote speakers include… 🎙️

  • Kim Kardashian on entrepreneurial lessons, brand building, and her venture capital firm

  • Taylor Lorenz on how Moms built the creator economy

  • Matt Navarra on social media in 2024: From TikTok Ban to Meta AI

  • Scott Galloway on the winners and losers in Big Tech in 2024

  • Kara Swisher on her “Burn Book” chronicling and challenging tech

…And many more must-watch speaker sessions. 😮

Don’t miss a thingCheck the OMR Speaker Timetable.

Highlights will be streamed LIVE on YouTube. Don't forget to like and subscribe!



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

  1. Instagram Updates Algorithm to Prioritize Smaller Creators + Original Content [AMPLIFYING]

  2. TikTok and Universal Music Sign New Deal Allowing Artists Back Platform [RECONCILING]

  3. Facebook and Instagram Face New EU Probe In Latest Content Crackdown [REGULATING]

  4. LinkedIn Launch In-App Games to Boost Time Spent on Platform [DISTRACTING]

  5. US China Committee Wants FTC Probe TikTok’s Use of Children to Lobby Congress [PUNISHING]



Instagram cleans up duplicate content

Instagram is making some changes that are well worth knowing about, as they should lead to more original content from smaller creators getting a bigger audience.

…But some marketers will have to change their Instagram strategy

Here’s what’s coming:

  1. An algorithm update to boost reach of smaller creators

  2. Replacing reposts with original content in recommendations

  3. Adding labels to reposted content and linking back to the original creator

  4. Removing content aggregators from recommendations

The algorithm boost is nice, but it’s the other things that are most notable. In addition to giving a boost to smaller creators, these changes should result in much less duplicate content from engagement farmers finding its way into your feed.

That’s good news for everyone except those who repost content from other people. Content from aggregator accounts will still show up to people who follow them, but they will no longer be recommended algorithmically.

This means the tactic of aggregating engaging content to build a following might not be so successful anymore.

Let’s face it - they should have done this years ago.

These changes aren’t immediate; they’ll be rolling out over the next few months, and I’ll keep an eye on how they affect the Instagram experience.


UMG + TikTok are friends again… with a close eye on A.I.

TikTok has plenty of battles on its plate around the world, but at least one fight appears to have been settled amicably.

After the app’s music library had a massive hole in it for a couple of months, Universal Music Group artists are back.

As you’d probably expect, UMG and its artists are going to get more money out of the deal. TikTok has also agreed to provide “new promotional and engagement opportunities.”

But what’s most interesting is the other part of the agreement: “industry-leading protections with respect to generative A.I.”

What exactly does this mean? The two companies have been light on the details, but as Bloomberg points out:

Audio deepfake technology that allows members of the public to replicate famous artists is on the rise.

“A search on TikTok for videos “Taylor Swift AI” shows several videos offering AI-generated songs in the artist’s voice, and a popular genre involves using the tech to create covers of other artists’ songs. Most of these examples are labeled as AI-generated, but have nonetheless accumulated hundreds of thousands of views.”

Some artists and labels have been dipping their toe into allowing authorised A.I. versions of their music, sometimes with the support of platforms like YouTube, but the last thing they want is some soundalike song created by A.I. becoming a bigger hit than an artist’s latest legit song.

That would lead to a quagmire of legal mess that the labels and platforms would rather avoid.

So expect to see more ‘A.I. clauses’ in the future as entertainment companies do fresh deals with platforms - they’re a sign of the times.



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

Meta ♾️

  • Meta launch new AI features for advertisers, including a new AI tool that predicts which organic content will perform best if used in paid campaigns, improvements to ‘Remind me’ ads, and more. (above)

  • Meta’s Oversight Board is downsizing

  • The Twitter director who slept on the floor of the office for Elon Musk has taken a job at Meta, working on Messenger

  • Extremist militias are coordinating in more than 100 Facebook Groups

Facebook 👤


Threads / WhatsApp 💬🧵

Twitter (‘X’) 🤡

YouTube 📺

TikTok 📱

Snapchat / LinkedIn / Pinterest / More… 👻



Let’s start with one that hits close to home…




LinkedIn is an alternative universe where engagement bait is like nothing you’d see anywhere else on the planet.

The guy who turned his marriage proposal into advice about B2B sales went viral this week as people despaired at the disease that is LinkedIn Brain.

Was he trolling for engagement? Hopefully. But this is far from the worst example you’ll find if you scroll your LinkedIn feed for long enough.

Still, at least we got some decent jokes out of it:



If you’ve been reading this newsletter for long enough, you’ll know Twitter was a place close to my heart.

This piece sums up its decline as users fled following Elon Musk’s takeover…



“This is Enron now, folks. It may keep going, but people are going to jail at the end.”

– Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz is no fan of Elon Musk. Now he’s called Tesla a massive fraud, and Elon didn’t take it well.

Here’s what Elon said about Dustin:

“He is a pompous idiot whose his head is so far up his own ass that he is legally blind.”



Want to get started with A.I. image generation in your work, or just up your game? Check out these tools…


😮 WTF?!

“Rhegan Coursey, who has more than 1.3 million followers on TikTok, said that Revolve asked people to enter its party based on their follower count.

“As of Monday morning, her video exposing the brand had amassed more than 18.4 million views.”




Meta’s enthusiasm for A.I. seems to be getting the better of it…




If you saw your Instagram follower count slashed this week, don’t worry - it was just a bug.

One account saw almost their entire following of 5 million accounts disappear 😬


  • A WhatsApp bug broke the ability to send video from Android devices



The Social Network isn’t cool.

You know what’s cool?

The Social Network 2:



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



15 million

– The number of sellers using TikTok Shop worldwide, as of December. That was up more than 6 million in the second half of 2023.

  • TikTok now has 142 million users, and 6,287 content moderators, in the EU

  • As of January 2024, X was serving 61.8 million logged in EU users, and 49.6 million logged out guests, for a total of 111.4 million overall users in the region, down 0.8 million users on its previous report from early last year

  • LinkedIn is currently serving 47.9 million EU users per month, up from 45.2 million in October last year

  • X has the worst ratio of moderation staff to users in the EU, at one moderator for every 60,249 users

  • X's web traffic declined 15.2% YoY in Mar 24, while LinkedIn’s was up 10.6%

  • 46% of Americans believe China is using TikTok to ‘spy on’ US citizens

  • Only 35% of Gen Zers say authenticity is what they care most about from influencers.



How are marketers using A.I.?



  • Tens of millions of people around the world secretly use WhatsApp despite bans, the app’s boss says. [BBC News]

  • Meta has defended its risk mitigating process amid an EU probe. [Reuters $$$]

  • UK Conservative politicians and their staff have been found in private Facebook groups full of racist, sexist, homophobic postings. [The Guardian]

  • Meta has been hit with a rare ‘Sell’ rating from BNP Paribas due to concerns about a lack on new revenue streams. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Meta has announced its third annual ‘Conversations’ business messaging conference. [Social Media Today]

  • A US lawsuit argues Meta is required by law to let you control your own feed. [Wired $$$]

  • Kids should be barred from using smartphones until 13 and social media until 18, according to a major French study. [Business Insider]

New features and tests:


  • Facebook Reels now lets you manage closed captions directly in the app. [@jonahmanzano]

  • Facebook now lets creators to upload subscription videos directly in the app. [@jonahmanzano]


  • Instagram is rolling out longer, three-minute Reels. [@cmcalgary]

  • Instagram has added a new privacy feature that provides account information before you respond to them in DM messages. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram is testing the ability to go live in broadcast channels only for subscribers. [@theahmedghanem]

  • You can now ‘like’ Notes on Instagram. [@MattNavarra]

  • Instagram is testing a new feature where likes from your mutual followers pop up with a special animation. [@kishanukarmakar]

  • Instagram has overhauled 'Inspiration' in the Professional Dashboard and moved it from the 'Tips and Resources' section to the 'Tools' section. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram is working on the ability to add customer details. [@alex193a]



  • Threads has added a new 'copy text' menu, allowing you to copy text and follow all the profiles mentioned in that thread. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Threads is working on a ‘Your Feeds’ feature. [@alex193a]


  • WhatsApp now lets you pin multiple messages in your chats. [Android Police]

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

  • You can now edit Pages directly in Meta Business Suite app. [@jonahmanzano]

  • Meta's head of AR hardware has teased next-gen transparent AR glasses with a wide field-of-view. [Android Central]

  • The next Batman: Arkham game will be a Meta Quest exclusive. [The Verge]



New features and tests:

  • X has added new ways to browse communities. [@oncescuradu]

  • X is promoting its in-app European election hub. [@oncescuradu]



  • A US ban on TikTok could lead to a Chinese trade war retaliation, according to an ex-White House CIO. [The Register]

  • Lawyers in TikTok addiction lawsuits say extra protections on the Chinese version of the app show the company could do more. TikTok’s lawyers don’t want to talk about it. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Russian state media is ramping up its English and Spanish presence on TikTok. [Washington Post $$$]

  • A top ByteDance exec told advertisers “we are not backing down” over the anti-TikTok law in the US. [Deadline]

  • TikTok’s general counsel is moving to new role focused on fighting a US sale. [Reuters $$$]

  • TikTok has announced a ticket sales partnership with European ticket giant CTS Eventim. [Social Media Today]

  • The Croatian president has hit out at prospect of an EU TikTok ban. [Politico]

  • US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said TikTok “did not come up” in recent talks with China. [NBC News]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Everything you need to know about TikTok carousels. [Buffer]

New features and tests:

  • TikTok has launched an Effect Creator Center, for effects creators to check their progress, active challenges, and more. [@theahmedghanem]

  • TikTok is testing the ability to share a comment as a Story. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok has been spotted offering a country filter on the Trending feed. [@jonahmanzano]



  • Discord has shut down the ‘Spy Pet’ bots that scraped and sold user messages. [404 Media]

  • Mastodon has formed a new US non-profit to receive tax-deductible US donations, with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone on its board. [Mastodon blog]

  • UK regulator Ofcom is investigating OnlyFans for allegedly failing to prevent children from accessing adult content through the platform. [TechCrunch]

  • The Chinese government has tightened its grip on social media companies like Tencent ByteDance, and Weibo. [BBC News]

  • Telegram has unblocked chatbots used by Ukraine's security services. [Reuters $$$]

  • Roblox plans to sell video ads targeting users aged 13 and above. [Variety]

  • Pinterest says its AI-powered collages are now more engaging than Pins. [TechCrunch]

New features and tests:

  • Snapchat now lets you import audio files from your camera roll. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Twitch’s TikTok-like discovery feed is rolling out to all users. [TechCrunch]



Geekout’s pick of the best longer reads spotted this week…

“Facebook is the zombie internet, where a mix of bots, humans, and accounts that were once humans but aren’t anymore interact to form a disastrous website where there is little social connection at all.”



“SEO for social justice?”

TikTokers are weaponizing the platform’s ‘blue comments’ feature…



…And that’s everything that went down on social this week.

Go forth and copy/paste the useful bits into your internal comms emails / newsletters. I see you! 👀😀

I’m heading off to prepare for my keynote in Germany next week at the OMR Festival.

I’m bricking it… 70,000 attendees, 10,000 pairs of eyes in the audience.

Oh lord 💩 Wish me luck.

Goodbye, geeks!

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

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