Geekout Newsletter #3 - ⏰ TikTok, TikTok... BLOCK?

Hello, geeks!

This week, Facebook and TikTok have selfishly hogged much of the spotlight, but both would probably rather it was someone else's turn for a bit of media or political scrutiny. We will dig into the details below, but suffice to say, two of the world's most popular social networks could do with a few friends right now.

To cut to the chase...

No... I don't think TikTok will get banned in the U.S just yet.

Yes... Because Trump, it could well happen (in some form) in the near future

No.... Facebook's civil rights audit (published this week) didn't do Zuck any favours.

Yes... Facebook is going to have to do A LOT more to appease ad boycotters, and well, a lot of other people too!

But just before we get into all that, don't forget to join The Social Media Geekout group on Facebook. You'll love it. I promise.

And don't miss the 'And finally...' in this week's edition of Geekout. Social media managers: You'll never have felt so seen :)

When I decided to start my own little newsletter, I thought a few hundred people may be as nerdy as me and subscribe. I can't believe nearly 3,000 of you have now subscribed. Thank you. You're awesome!

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Right... It's time to get you all up to speed on everything social media from this week.

Let's do this 👇🤓

— Matt

🚨 Everyone's talking about...

This week showed just how much of a big deal TikTok has become, and just how at risk it could be in certain parts of the world.

News that the Trump administration may ban the app in the US, shows just how important it was for Chinese parent company ByteDance to install a US-based CEO for its hottest property in the West. TikTok is building up its lobbying muscle in DC and considering further measures to distance itself from China as it tries to avoid becoming the next Huawei — a company that bears the brunt of fears about giving China too much access to Western data. TikTok, of course, insists no Western data goes anywhere near China.

But whether you believe TikTok is a threat or not, there are alternatives waiting in the wings. Byte seems to have seen a rush of downloads this week in the US, and just as Instagram has rushed Reels into the Indian market following the TikTok ban there, it could easily do the same on home turf. And it's easy to imagine Facebook's lobbyists telling politicians that there's an indisputably all-American alternative to TikTok ready to make sure fans of looping viral fun aren't left in the lurch.

This all may be moot in the long run, though: it could be harder than you might think for the White House to completely ban TikTok.

If Facebook thought the boycott by advertisers this month would slink out of the headlines and be quietly forgotten, it was dead wrong. A report the company itself commissioned slammed its civil rights record, accusing it of "prioritizing free expression on its platform over nondiscrimination," as the New York Times put it.

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg admitted the company had "a long way to go" on civil rights. That's one thing the organisers of the ad boycott would agree with them about. They were disappointed by their meeting with Mark Zuckerberg and other top execs this week, saying the company expected "an A for attendance" and was "more interested in dialogue than action."

In that light, the fact that the Facebook Oversight Board, which is supposed to rule on contentious moderation decisions, won't be up and running until "late fall" — likely after the US presidential election — seems all the more concerning.

This week, a Twitter job post that mentioned building a new subscription platform set tongues wagging, and Twitter's stock price climbing. We don't know anything about how it might operate, but some whispers suggest it might be a Patreon-type offering, perhaps connected to video, or perhaps something related to TweetDeck.

Would you sell access to your tweets for a monthly fee? Given that the potentially enormous reach of tweets is one benefit of the platform, even the biggest names on Twitter would have to think carefully about that question.

In this comprehensive Social Media Pocket Guide, we’ve looked at research-backed social media strategies and current best practices, with examples from major brands, to help drive audience engagement while delivering your business results.

👀 ICYMI...

Stories you need to know about:

Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:

  • Facebook has commissioned sports media startup Overtime to produce 50 workout videos featuring influencers and athletes. [Sportico]

  • Around 30,000 people have joined a claim against Facebook which alleges the company breached Dutch privacy law. []

  • Facebook will let journalists sign up to get special features for their profession, starting with enhanced account security. It's only available in the USA, Mexico, Brazil, and the Philippines at first. [Facebook Journalism Project]


  • TikTok has launched its self-service ad platform, a huge step forward for the company. It's also offering $100m in advertising credits to small businesses. [CNBC]

  • TikTok removed 49 million videos and had 500 requests for data by governments in the second half of 2019, its new transparency report says. [CNBC]

  • TikTok fans had a fright when a bug caused all videos to show zero likes. The company worked quickly to fix it, and communicated about the problem better than many of its rivals do in similar situations. [@TikTokSupport]

  • 'TikToktivists' are at it again, flooding Trump's 2020 campaign app with negative reviews. [Bloomberg $$$]

And the rest:

  • LinkedIn and Reddit will stop reading iOS users' clipboards. They're latest high-profile apps to be caught out by a new feature in the iOS 14 beta. It's likely a bug rather than wrongdoing in many cases, though.

  • Social media monitoring app Dataminr faces heat for reportedly feeding data about Black Lives Matter protests to law enforcement — something that might break an agreement with Twitter about using its data to engage in 'domestic surveillance.' [The Intercept]

  • Google+ is finally completely dead after its mobile apps were rebranded Google Currents. Currents is a social product for businesses [The Verge]

  • YouTube does not have to share email and IP addresses of movie pirates with rightsholders, an EU court has ruled. [TorrentFreak]

  • Game streaming star Ninja has moved to YouTube following the closure of Microsoft's Mixer, where he previously had a big-money deal. It's unclear if this is an exclusive arrangement with YouTube or not. [The Verge]

  • iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 are now in public beta, meaning you can easily try new features... like that handy emoji search in the default keyboard. ⌨ [The Verge]

🌟Tip of the week

Want top-quality advice from industry experts in fields like PR, product design, or social media strategy?

Product Hunt's new Mentors Network lets you book a call with someone who really knows what they're talking about.

🔨 Tool of the week

Need to hide the identity of someone in a video you've shot on your iPhone before you share it? This clever app is useful to have at the ready.

📲 Quick hits

Updates, experiments, and useful info snippets:

  • Facebook is testing new emoji with some users. These include people feeding a baby, Mx Claus, Polar Bear, and Black Cat. [@Emojipedia]

  • Facebook is rolling out its new shop features to more users. Including me... [@MattNavarra]

  • The first sign of messaging across different Facebook-owned apps seems to have been spotted in Messenger. [WABetaInfo]

  • And screenshots from an internal test show how messaging between Instagram and Messenger may be presented to users. [@alex193a]

  • Facebook has added new community management training to its free Blueprint programme. [Social Media Today]

  • Instagram is rolling out pinned comments worldwide, to help users set the tone for comments that follow by highlighting those that are positive. [The Verge]

  • Instagram is testing a new 'Shop' tab instead of the Activity tab in the bottom icon row. [TechCrunch]

  • Instagram is letting some users see fewer ads about certain topics. [@MattNavarra]

  • Instagram is testing an option to let users edit the thumbnail and preview image for IGTV posts. [Social Media Today]

  • Instagram could soon let you archive live streams for five days. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram will block promotion of 'conversion therapy' aimed at changing a person's sexuality or gender identity. [BBC News]

  • WhatsApp's Business app now has support for QR codes and catalogue sharing. [TechCrunch]

  • Twitter is introducing a 'React with Fleet' option on tweets, for people with access to the Stories-like Fleets feature. [@MattNavarra]

  • And Twitter is working on a bunch of other UI tweaks to Fleets, which is currently only available in a handful of countries. [@wongmjane]

  • YouTube has launched new analytics for music artists inside Studio. [9to5Google]

  • YouTube is bringing midroll ads to shorter videos. From late July you may see them in videos of eight minutes or longer, down from 10 minutes previously. [YouTube Help]

  • YouTube has a new metric to help creators understand how much revenue they make per 1,000 views. [Social Media Today]

  • YouTube has explained why your analytics may not always reflect your videos' actual performance. [Social Media Today]

  • Snapchat appears to be testing topic hashtags. [@MattNavarra]

  • Tinder has started testing video calls between matches. You have to promise keep the chat clean, though. [The Verge]

  • Apple's Pages and Numbers apps now let you embed YouTube and Vimeo videos. [9to5Mac]

📖 Weekend reading

How do you design humility and forgiveness into social media products? This article explores some interesting ideas.

🐣 Tweet of the week

😳 And finally....

This might become your new favourite Instagram account...

Endless real-life (anonymous 🗣) confessions from social media managers.

Yup, it's as good as you are imagining. 😮 😆👇

@sippingsocialtea on Instagram

Want more? Head to @sippingsocialtea.

📅 Back next week...

ANNNND.... We're done! You are officially geeked-out.

As always... If you want to get in touch with me - ping me a DM on Twitter: @MattNavarra.

Also... Don’t forget to join The Social Media Geekout on Facebook where me and 16,000+ other social media pros hangout 😎

For now… Goodbye geeks! ❤️

— Matt

This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.

Copyright 2020: Matt Navarra Media Ltd

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