Generation X is tired of social media

…is old-school social as broken as Zuck's knee?

Hello, geeks!

Welcome to another ludicrously overstuffed edition of Geekout.

Before we get into it… This AI optical illusion is VERY disturbing (but can you spot the glitch in the image) 😵‍💫

We’ve got loads to dig into this week, so I will quickly signpost THREE particularly interesting things I spotted in the past 7 days:

  1. Zuck is broken 🤕… But on he’s the mend.

Threads post by Mallorie Sullivan. A photo of Mark Zuckerberg having his forehead wiped in a hospital bed. Caption" me aft replying to one (1) email"
  1. Meta’s new ad-free subscription started popping up for users in Europe. They REALLY want people to pick that “Use for free” / ‘let us keep tracking you’ option 😆 👉 Check out the signup screens.


  1. An early xmas gift to social media managers from Adam Mosseri? 🎁  It looks like Threads is getting close(r) to launching in Europe


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Geekout with our hottest picks of the week:

  1. Mark Zuckerberg Ignored Execs on Kids Safety Proposals, Lawsuit Alleges [CONCERNING

  2. UK Regulator Ofcom Unveil New Rules to Protect Children Online [NEW RULES

  3. Elon Musk Launches New Troll-like AI Chatbot Called Grok [THANKS, ELMO]

  4. Meta to Require Disclosures for AI-Altered Political Ads [REALITY CHECK

  5. Meta + Amazon Team-up for New Shopping Feature on Facebook + Instagram [SOCIAL SHOP]



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Social media is growing up

Social media isn’t what it used to be. Here are a couple of stories that explain what I mean…

In the week when European regulators turned up the heat on child and teen safety on social media, the last thing Meta needed was events in the US making it look like doesn’t care about the issue.

Arturo Béjar worked at Facebook between 2009 and 2015 and returned as a contractor in 2019. His work included tackling cyberbullying. He spoke before Congress this week.

As the Associated Press reported:

In the 2021 note, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal, Béjar outlined a “critical gap” between how the company approached harm and how the people who use its products – most notably young people – experience it.

Béjar testified before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday about social media and the teen mental health crisis, hoping to shed light on how Meta executives, including Zuckerberg, knew about the harms Instagram was causing but chose not to make meaningful changes to address them.

He believes that Meta needs to change how it polices its platforms, with a focus on addressing harassment, unwanted sexual advances and other bad experiences, even if these problems don’t clearly violate existing policies.

This came as a newly redacted lawsuit made similar claims: that Mark Zuckerberg ignored senior staff’s concerns about teen safety.

All of that is absolutely not a good look just as UK regulator Ofcom published its draft rules for protecting children online. These include limiting who can message young people, removing them from suggested friend lists, and not disclosing their location data.

And the EU has been pressing YouTube and TikTok for details of how it will protect minors under the new Digital Services Act.

Social media is maturing. Regulation is tightening, and the days of extreme growth at all costs are over. The Mark Zuckerberg of the 2010s might have ignored child safety, but in the 2020s he doesn’t have that choice.

‘Growth at all costs and never mind the user harms’ was never a good way for tech companies to act. It’s just a shame they’ve had to learn it the hard way - by causing users harm and getting regulated.

And speaking of the times changing….

If, like me, you first got social online via chat apps like MSN, ICQ, or Yahoo Messenger, before graduating through Myspace to Facebook and beyond, it really does feel at the moment like the end of an era.

Elon is destroying all that was special about Twitter. Facebook is becoming more about Marketplace and small groups. Instagram is now more about creators and brands than individuals. And TikTok is more about consumption than creation for most people.

And they all want to be shopping apps.

Sure, we can pick up Threads or Bluesky and pretend we’re back in the golden age of Twitter, but I think for many people there’s that little feeling inside that maybe it’s all too much effort to start again.

It’s probably an age thing. The excitement of this brave new world of social media has waned and for many older millennials and Gen-Xers, the compulsion to build an audience isn’t as important as it once was.

Maybe your career has moved on, maybe keeping your kids off YouTube is a bigger focus than your own social activity, maybe you’re just tired of it all.

I say all this as someone who lives on social media for my work and genuinely loves it. I’m not going anywhere. But that little voice is still there inside - it’s just louder in some others around my age.



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



WhatsApp / Threads

Twitter (‘X’)



Telegram / Snapchat / Reddit / More…



This would bring a few people’s egos down to Earth!

Threads post by Soren Iverson. Image shows a mockup of a LinkedIn screenshot, captions "LinkedIn alerts for title inflation". A VP Product Management at Google has a label below their job description reading "Title inflation alert: There are over 1,000 VPs at Google. Winston is basically a lead PM."



Aldi UK jumped nicely on the story of influencer Ana Stanskovsky, who appears to have got her boyfriend’s name ‘Kevin’ tattooed on her forehead. 🤦

Aldi’s UK Christmas campaign mascot is called Kevin the Carrot, so how could they resist this gem?

Tweet by Aldi Stores UK. A carrot with 'Ana' tattooed on his forehead is screaming. Text reads "Breaking: Carrot says he regrets getting fans name tattoo on forehead!"



The news that Mark Zuckerberg needed surgery after being injured during MMA training led to some cracking memes…

Threads post by Social Media Today. Photo of Mark Zuckerbegr having his forehead wiped in a hospital bed. "Me after coming up with my 523rd different explanation on why Elon's X plan won't work"

Meanwhile, this hits hard… (Credit: Gudim)



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

I spoke to The i about the return of some of the most toxic characters to X in the week that Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins were allowed back.



Is this the future of online content? Welcome to the world of creators who use A.I.-generated versions of themselves to produce even more content with little effort.

Silicon Intelligence can generate a basic A.I. clone for as little as $110.




When a tech startup fails, it’s always interesting to hear the founder’s take on what went wrong.

Pebble (previously known as T2) was developing a Twitter alternative when many users were crying out for one. What went wrong?

Here’s co-founder and CEO Gabor Cselle’s take…



Casy Neistat is an OG creator and here he spills on how he does his thing…



Did you know Meta has its own technical podcast? You do now. And in this episode, they discuss how the super-fast development of Threads as Zuck smelled blood at Twitter.



This handy tool offers an easier way to search X - with natural language.

It’s never been easier to find out, for example, what Elon Musk said about Trump in the past or what Sam Altman said about A.I. before the launch of OpenAI.



😮 WTF?!

A top Twitter handle isn’t as alluring as it once was, but X has finally done something Twitter first said it would do in 2010 but never did - started auctioning off abandoned handles.

But doing that after you’ve made the service a depressing mess just looks like desperation for cash.



Not a good look from WhatsApp…




Social media features heading for the graveyard:

Say goodbye to the original TikTok creator fund in the US, UK, Germany, and France.

It was only ever intended as a limited-time thing, and TikTok’s content monetisation features have developed a lot since it launched.




A leaked memo from last month–now confirmed as genuine–revealed that Tumblr is going onto life support.

Automattic hasn’t been able to turn around the once massively important platform. It will now run on a hadnful of maintenance and user safety staff as other staff are redeployed to the companies other products.

Better than shutting it down, I suppose.



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




The share of time people spend watching Reels versus anything else while using Instagram




Threads is providing sky-high engagement compared to X for many news publishers…

Threads post by Matt Karolian: My team has continued to analyze engagement levels on both Threads and X for a selection of news brands. Similar to our previous findings, we've observed that posts on Threads are receiving significantly higher levels of engagement. This is noteworthy, especially considering Threads' smaller user base compared X.



  • Meta is returning to China after 14 years. It’s signed a deal to sell a new. lower-cost headset through Tencent next year. [Wall Street Journal $$$]

  • Meta has pledged to allow Marketplace customers to opt out of data sharing. [The Guardian]

  • Meta is at risk from proposals for increased regulation of digital wallets in the US. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Meta is launching an A.I.-focused startup accelerator in Paris. [TechCrunch]

  • An app that claims to tell you who looks at your Instagram profile is raising privacy concerns. [NBC News]

  • Google refused to bring the Play Store to Quest, Meta’s CTO says. [Upload VR]

  • Instagram has unveiled its ‘Creators of Tomorrow’ showcase of top creative talent. [Social Media Today]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • How 13 news publishers are using WhatsApp Channels. [Nieman Lab]

New features and tests:


  • Facebook is improving its paid subscription offerings for creators and offering seasonal themed virtual gifts. [Meta Newsroom]

  • Facebook Live has added a new option called ‘Enable AR gifting’. [@jonahmanzano]


  • Instagram’s Meta Verified feed has been spotted in the wild in Romania. [@oncescuradu]

  • Instagram is offering an invite-only holiday bonus for creators and help in gaining new subscribers. [Meta Newsroom]

  • Instagram has confirmed it’s testing read receipts for DMs. [@MattNavarra]

  • Instagram has been spotted displaying ‘achievements’ for milestones related to Stories, Reels, and posts. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram is working on a Video 'Notes' feature. [@oncescuradu]


  • Threads has been spotted displaying fact-checks from professional organisations. [@haiimjose]


  • WhatsApp is testing calendar search, to help you find chats or media from specific dates. [Android Police]

  • WhatsApp is rolling out the ability to route calls through company servers for added security. [TechRadar]

  • WhatsApp Channels could soon offer a polls feature. And ‘Muted Updates’ are coming back. [Android Police]

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

  • Meta is gradually merging Horizon Worlds into Quest's interface. [Upload VR]

  • Meta has unveiled five new Facebook and Instagram lead generation ad tools. [Search Engine Land]



  • X is trying to drum up deals with content partners, from NFL to Paris Hilton, seeking safe zones for jittery advertisers. [Wall Street Journal $$$]

  • Elon Musk reportedly screamed 'F*k Zuck! F**k Zuck!' as soon as he signed the papaers to buy Twitter. [Futurism]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • 11 places to find scroll-stopping Instagram templates for your posts, Stories, and Reels. [Buffer]

New features and tests:

  • X now lets users who upload longer videos add timestamp links to aid with navigation. [Social Media Today]

  • X has added new notifications for posts that have had a Community Note added. [Social Media Today]

  • X might soon allow animated GIF profile pictures again. [Insider]



  • TikTok must ‘spare no effort’ in tackling disinformation, EU commissioner Thierry Breton has said. [Reuters $$$]

  • Shein has hired TikTok’s top US logistics exec. [The Information $$$]

  • Malaysia is studying proposed regulations for TikTok Shop. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Pro-ISIS videos are getting thousands of views on TikTok. [DailyDot]

New features and tests:



  • Palestinian journalists and creators documenting the strikes on Gaza have see a surge in followers. [NBC News]

  • People are turning to Snapchat's Snap Map for firsthand perspectives from Gaza. [TechCrunch]

  • Google, Meta, and TikTok have won backing from Europe's top court in their fight against an Austrian law requiring them to delete hate speech or face fines of up to $10.69 million. [Reuters $$$]

  • New EU rules will force social media companies like Meta, X, TikTok to clearly label political advertising on their platforms. [Reuters $$$]

  • The UK government wants laws that will demand big tech companies inform it of upcoming new security features. [The Register]

  • …and there are fears this would allow it to block encryption. [Financial Times $$$]

  • Snap is laying off 20 product managers to speed up decision-making. [Engadget]

  • ByteDance’s VR division has announced a restructuring and staff cuts. [Financial Times $$$]

  • Carol Vorderman has quit her weekly BBC radio show saying she will ‘not be silenced’ by social media rules. [The Guardian]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

New features and tests:

  • LinkedIn has added new relationship management elements to Sales Navigator. [Social Media Today]

  • Snapchat now offers Diwali-themed app icons for Plus subscribers. [@theahmedghanem]





…And that’s literally everything you need to know this.

Don’t forget to signup for my FREE Social Media Trends 2024 webinar, taking place Wed 15 Nov (next week!)…

…1,600+ people have already registered to join us!

Plus… By registering, you automatically get entered to WIN a 1-Year Geekout Pro subscription.

It’s no free holiday in the Bahamas 🏝️, but hey 😆

Right… Time for me to go flirt with (Michelle) Pheiffer 😍. Long story. I’ll explain some other time.

Goodbye geeks!

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

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