Instagram wants you to show your flipside

Finstas are a feature now

Hello, geeks!

It’s been another wild week in social, full of controversy and spicy headlines. 😀

Before we get into it… Instagram’s WILD new ‘Flipside’ feature has rolled out to a lucky few people.

In the news this week… BeReal has finally realised establishing itself as an ‘Anti-Instagram’ app and keeping brands off the platform, makes it very hard to make any money to pay the bills and keep the lights on.

Earlier this week it announced plans to let brands and celebs join the platform. And in doing so, it becomes pretty much like every other social media platform it was trying to differentiate itself from. 🤦🏻‍♂️

Personally, I still think BeReal is a feature not a platform, hence why Instagram and TikTok were able to copy/paste it into their apps in a nanosecond. But TikTok shut down its BeReal clone app last year after only 9 months.

Talking of apps that are lucky to still be alive… ByteDance is still trying to resuscitate TikTok’s sister app Lemon8. It has now hired a bunch of influencers to give the app a boost.

It might just work based on a recent uptick in downloads. But it also may be one last throw of the dice before someone in China pulls the plug?

Meanwhile, in the US, Florida has passed a bill which will ban under-16 year olds from social media if the governor passes it into law. Good luck enforcing that one 🙄

A few other things that got my attention this week…


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Geekout’s pick of the hottest headlines of the week:

  1. Meta To Let EU Users Unlink Their Instagram, Facebook + Messenger Accounts [UNBUNDLING]

  2. MrBeast Made £250k With Test Video Post On X, But Calls It A ‘Facade’ [PROFITING]

  3. TikTok Spotted Testing 30 Minute Video Upload Option [YOUTUBING]

  4. Meta Tightened Teen Messaging Limitations On Facebook + Instagram [SHIELDING]

  5. AI-Generated Taylor Swift Porn Went Viral On Elon Musk’s X [DISGUSTING]


  • Geekout has 28,000+ subscribers.

  • Geekout subscribers manage social media for the world’s biggest brands including Apple, Amazon, Disney, Redbull, McDonald’s, Nike.

  • Geekout has an industry-beating open rate of 54% and a 14% click rate!

  • Geekout Ads typically generate up to 4% click-through-rate!

  • Previous advertisers include Morning Brew, Google, Meta, Semrush, and Sprout Social.

  • Limited number of slots still available in February.



Beastly confusion over X video revenue

Whether you enjoy his videos or think they’re cynical, soulless, algorithm-driven content, there’s no doubt MrBeast is an in-demand guy.

So, when he spotted a publicity opportunity by experimenting with posting natively to X, it’s no surprise that X was keen to promote the king of YouTube coming to the platform. After all, Elon and Linda really want us to think X is ‘video first’.

So there was much mockery when it appeared Elon Musk and friends were ‘shadow-boosting’ MrBeast’s video by running it as an undisclosed ad to boost viewer numbers.

That wasn’t quite what was happening, but MrBeast was right to describe his $263,655 revenue from the experiment as facade.

As Ryan Broderick explained, Shopify bought a pre-roll ad against MrBeast’s video (X doesn’t label videos with pre-roll as ‘ads’), which earned him a cut of X’s ad revenue for this premium ad buy.

But that didn’t stop a bunch of Elon fanboys and other X creators from getting upset that they don’t get that much revenue from the standard revenue-sharing deal for verified X subscribers, even though it seems X didn’t do anything untoward.

And the irony is, MrBeast doesn’t need X at all, and $263,655 is small beans in his world.

He’s reportedly on the verge of signing a deal to make a series for Amazon Studios. Meanwhile, his Chinese debut got 3 million views within hours. He’s got plenty to keep him busy and rich.

No wonder he announced a giveaway of his X earnings. The man knows how to milk publicity.

Meanwhile, X staff resorted to distorting metrics in a bid to claim MrBeast’s video was doing better on X than YouTube.

In reality, there’s only one winner here, and it’s not Elon Musk, or regular creators on X.

TikTok’s half-hour YouTube challenger

Speaking of competing with YouTube, TikTok has a much better chance of taking a chunk out of Google’s video juggernaut than X does.

And now that it’s testing 30-minute videos, your favourite longer-form YouTubers might be tempted to cross-post their content. This follows a gradual creeping up of the maximum length of a video over the past few years.

The question is, do TikTok users want 30-minute videos?

We’ll find out, thanks to this test. But such long videos certainly seem to break from the core TikTok experience of swiping through quickfire content.

And while YouTube’s interface has been able to adapt to accommodate the TikTok-aping Shorts feature, TikTok’s fullscreen video-first approach has little room for such a manoeuvre without spoiling what makes the app so compelling in the first place.

With YouTube, you go in expecting you’ll probably have to put your feet up and watch something long. And the interface encourages that. TikTok… not so much.

So watch this space… for at least half an hour.


Everything else worth knowing about from the past seven days…

∞ Meta

🤳🏻 Instagram

 💬 WhatsApp / 🧵Threads

💩 Twitter (‘X’)

👻 Snapchat / 📺 YouTube

📱 TikTok

💬 Telegram / ✂️ CapCut / 🕹️ Twitch



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

I spoke to Business Insider about X’s advertiser crisis, and what might happen next…




Another ‘this would actually be really useful’ feature from Soren!



What do Americans do with the inaccessible landing built above the door of some suburban homes?

Turn it into a meme, of course:

Even Denny’s got in on it…



Fashion site Coveteur struck a chord when it “threw a tantrum” on Instagram about the lack of answers or support after getting locked out of its account for nearly two weeks (they could still publish simple posts via Business Suite).

Unsurprisingly, many others shared similar experiences in the comments. Sort it out, Meta!


  • Searches for Spotify's ‘daylist’ spiked 20,000% after the feature became hot on Instagram



Oh NO, H&M… you didn’t, did you? They did.

This ad was called out for promoting the sexualisation of children.



"Unhinged' social media managers ... You'll enjoy this. A good read from Monzo’s senior social manager (and friend of Geekout), Richard Cook:



What’s the best ‘link in bio’ tool these days? Later breaks down your options…




The X bugs keep coming. This week users found their posts were labeled as ‘sensitive media’ despite being anything but.

Elon Musk explained it was a “spam/scam bot” run by X that got a bit trigger happy.



YouTube's celebrity deepfake scam ads are getting more convincing.

No, Jennifer Aniston isn’t giving away MacBooks.


😮 WTF?!

Users have been uploading stolen p*rn to Instagram with one easy trick… while adult content creators are banned for no reason.

Instagram’s restrictions can be bypassed by simply inserting a three-minute countdown clock, after which a porn video starts playing uninterrupted 😬


  • A man tried to eat a cheese slice for every new TikTok follower. It went viral. He now has 178,000 followers🧀🧀🧀🧀🤢



Oops. If you’re going to go on a recruitment drive for the British Army, using Fortnite–a game in which impressionable teenagers shoot each other for fun–is bound to raise eyebrows.

The campaign was quickly and quietly dropped.



Social media features heading for the graveyard:

One to be aware of if you place ads on LinkedIn:



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

Snapchat has added generative A.I. pets for Snapchat+ subscribers




Kids spent 60% more time on TikTok than YouTube last year (lots more interesting stats like that here)


  • 63% of financial advice on TikTok that is misleading, according to one study

  • 85% of viewers prefer short-form videos of 15 seconds or less in length

  • TikTok’s growth in monthly active users fell to just 3% year-over-year per quarter in 2023

  • There was a 700% year-over-year increase in spending on branded partnerships with creators on YouTube Shorts

  • How much TikTok pays its US employees, according to salary data

  • Are 40% of Gen Z shunning Google for TikTok? Not exactly

  • Gen Z is driving LinkedIn's user growth, with monthly US Gen Z users expected to rise by 13.7% in 2024



Gen Zers prefer TikTok over Instagram for long videos, and other insights…



  • How are prominent X users faring on Threads? Social Media Today took a look. [Social Media Today]

  • Meta is building a new $800 million A.I.-focused data centre in Indiana. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Facebook has suffered a big loss in a lawsuit against a data-scraping company. [Ars Technica]

  • Meta has fixed the Quest 3's notorious mic issues, but your face cover might still block the mics. [Android Authority]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

New features and tests:


  • Facebook has been spotted letting you import a profile photo from Instagram [@jonahmanzano]

  • Facebook has added a ‘Connect your Reel to a video” option. [@oncescuradu]


  • Instagram now lets you save a Reel to drafts, rather than deleting it. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram now displays the number of channels associated with the account you are searching for. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram now asks if you want to share your new profile picture as a post. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram is still working on the ability to create an A.I. bot by introducing a feature for A.I. memory expansion. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram is working on the ability to add text stickers to photos before posting. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram is working on support for multiline text in the comment composer on Android. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram now lets users add stickers to a ‘Favorites’ list. [@ihammod_oh]


  • Threads now has an auto light/dark mode option on desktop. [@jonahmanzano]


  • Messenger now shows the count of each reaction on broadcast channels. [@theahmedghanem]

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

  • Meta could be close to bringing its photorealistic ‘Codec’ avatars to Quest. [Upload VR]

  • Meta is preparing to support iPhone Spatial Video on Quest. [UploadVR]

  • Meta is working on an airplane travel mode for Quest. [Road to VR]



Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • X has created a 2024 Marketing Calendar to help with campaign planning. [Social Media Today]



  • TikTok has laid off around 60 staff, mostly in its sales and ads division. [NPR]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

New features and tests:

  • TikTok has added ‘Identity Verification’ to the Balance wallet to check your account status. [@theahmedghanem]

  • TikTok now shows when someone you follow has posted a new update. [@theahmedghanem]

  • TikTok’s ‘Search highlights’ feature is rolling out to more users. [@MattNavarra]

  • TikTok now allows users to easily send a DM to a friend by tapping the small red airplane icon. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok is testing a new UI for the post share sheet. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok is testing a new button in a post’s share sheet, called ‘Create Live Photo’. [@oncescuradu]



  • Bluesky’s CEO shared some interesting thoughts on content moderation in the fediverse. [TechCrunch]

  • Social platforms have become 'marketing engines' as creators look for direct deals to earn money. [Digiday $$$]

  • A massive data leak containing Twitter and LinkedIn data among others has been discovered, although it appears to be a compilation of earlier leaks. [Forbes]

  • Joe Biden’s re-election campaign is courting creators. [The Information $$$]

  • Discord bots are being used in information-stealing campaigns. [TechRadar]

  • The Belgian government wants to force TikTok and YouTube to share revenue to support local TV production. [The Guardian]

  • Twitch has warned streamers not to game the Drops system. [TubeFilter]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

New features and tests:

  • Snapchat has added new app icon choice for Plus subscribers. [@theahmedghanem]





Even rats are taking selfies now (and enjoying It)

“A photographer trained two rats to take photographs of themselves. They didn’t want to stop.” 🐀



…Alrighty folks, that’s EVERYTHING you need to know this week.

Quick heads up for Geekout friends in London. I will be in town next week (Wednesday 31st January).

I’m speaking at this Social Commerce Summit event...

If you fancy a coffee, hmu. I may have a couple of hours to kill at lunchtime, before I need to head home. ☕️

Also… I am heading to few different cities to speaking at a number of events in 2024. If you live in or near one of these cities, lets try and connect:

  • London, UK (Jan / Feb)

  • Brussels, Belgium (April)

  • Hamburg, Germany (May)

  • Bologna, Italy (June)

Right… Time for me to go. Have a great weekend

Goodbye geek!

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

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