instagram is old, bloated, and clueless about Gen-Z

…are you having a midlife crisis, IG?

Hello, geeks!

I’m starting to think Instagram has no f-king clue about Gen-Z.

Instagram boss-man Adam Mosseri (aka The Social Media Manager’s ‘The Face of Doom’) faces a monumental task re-orientating the app to make IG great again. 

“The once-minimalist photo-sharing app is rapidly becoming [an] overstuffed web portal”. I think Ryan Broderick is right.

Anyway… Back to my favourite topic. Elon. He’s been busy.

We also need to discuss Trump’s return to social media, YouTube’s big policy u-turn, and why Discord’s got Gas.


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Right then… Let's get into it! 

The hottest headlines social media pros like you need to know about this week:


  1. Twitter Kills All Third Party Apps With Sneaky Rule Change [TWITTER-HORR-IFFIC]

  2. Donald Trump Is Finalising Plans For His Return To Twitter [HELL GETTING HOTTER]

  3. Discord Buys Popular Teen Compliments App Gas [HELLO KIDZ]

  4. UK Toughens New Social Media Law With Jail Threat For Tech Execs [NEW RULES]

  5. YouTube Profanity Policy U-Turn Following Creator Backlash [REVISED RULES]

My RSS feeds, Twitter DMs, and email inbox have been overflowing with new updates, insights, and tip-offs. I checked them all. Here’s what’s worthy of your attention this week:

Meta exec says the Metaverse will become as important as smartphones in the future (Zuck hopes he’s right. They’ve gone all-in on metaverse)... WhatApp now lets you chat to yourself and it’s making it easier to block people…  Instagram launched ‘Quiet mode’,  new parental controls, and more ways to control crappy recommended posts.

Twitter’s daily revenue has dropped 40%, according to one of its managers… In desperation, Twitter is offering huge cash incentives to tempt advertisers back… Meanwhile, Twitter is glitching out. Check out this list of everything not working on Twitter right now… Twitter also launched a discounted annual plan for Twitter Blue (it’s not a great deal)… And Twitter’s ‘For You’ algorithm has already had to be tweaked. It was showing you way too many tweets from accounts you don’t follow.

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YouTube is now testing location tagging for YouTube Shorts… It also added video scrubbing for Shorts… TikTok promised even more algorithm transparency to gain trust of the U.S. Government (good luck with that, TikTok)... TikTok also rolled out state controlled media labelling to 40 more countries…TikTok knows you use it as a search engine… And creators will love this new TikTok ‘Save’ video feature.

And finally… 


  • 😍 EMOJIS: The 6 Hot New Emojis Coming To Your Smartphone Soon [SHOW ME]

  • 📈 TRENDS: 11 (More) Social Media Trends You Need To Look Out For In 2023 [REVEAL]

  • ✨ INSTAGRAM: How To Make Clicky Instagram Highlight Covers + Free Templates [TELL ME]

Alrighty then… Let’s dig a little deeper on the stories making the most headlines. 

Geekout analysis of the top talking points is coming up next…. Keep scrolling 👇

– Matt

P.S. This is worth checking out… 👌 Stay sharp on trends that drive the future

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It’s how creative professionals like you stay relevant and inspired.

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🚨 Everyone's talking about...

Artwork from the Tweetbot website

As last week's newsletter went out, it had just emerged that most third-party Twitter clients like Tweetbot and Twitterific had stopped working, but we didn't know why. It then emerged via a leak that it was a deliberate move, but the details remained a mystery - Twitter was silent on the issue. 

Developers were clueless, receiving no contact from anyone at Twitter about why their apps were useless and their (sometimes paying) users were left in the lurch.

A solitary tweet from Twitter after the weekend accused third-party apps of breaking its developer rules, although it didn't say which rules. That must have been some Minority Report 'future crimes' nonsense, because yesterday Twitter updated its developer rules to explicitly ban apps that duplicate the functionality of the official Twitter apps.

Elon Musk must see third-party clients as an inhibitor to growing the company's revenue, so it makes sense why he'd want to get rid of them. But to kill a number of small businesses offering products their customers love without warning, when those small businesses helped shape Twitter as we know it today shows absolutely zero respect to Twitter's history, the developers themselves, and their users.

Those users (often heavy users of the platform willing to pay for what they see as a better user experience) could now leave the platform, along with other power users who have noticed the platform's quality drop - including some influential ones.

But with a looming debt payment of $1.5 billion, Musk has probably thinks he has little time to be nice.

What's more, Twitter is facing an ads nightmare, with revenue reportedly down 40% year-over-year and 500 top advertisers having left. To fight back, Twitter is reportedly offering to match advertisers’ ad spending up to $250,000. 

And all is not lost for the future. Marketers are not yet sold on alternative platforms yet, and publishers are largely sticking around even if referral traffic is down. This has been blamed on the removal of the Moments feature - RIP Twitter's excellent curation team.

And if that doesn't work, auctioning off the old office fixtures, fittings, and decorations might help with a few pennies. Oh Elon.

Donald Trump's days of exile on Truth Social could soon be over. A report this week suggests he's gearing up to return to the mainstream, on Twitter and Facebook.

And as Meta deliberated whether to give him his account back, the Trump team has put their case across:

With access to his Twitter account back, Trump's campaign is formally petitioning Facebook’s parent company to unblock his account there after it was locked in response to the U.S. Capitol riot two years ago.

“We believe that the ban on President Trump’s account on Facebook has dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse,” Trump’s campaign wrote in its letter to Meta on Tuesday, according to a copy reviewed by NBC News.

– Marc Caputo and Jonathan Allen, NBC News

As the former president gears up to fight for the Republican nomination in the next presidential race, having a voice beyond the niche Truth Social will be essential. And his team probably think they have a good chance of getting it.

With Elon Musk having already reinstated Trump's Twitter account, Meta has cover to take an easy route and say 'we're letting him back, but he's straight out if he breaks our rules again'.

That said, memories of the January 6th 2021 attack in Washington DC are still raw, and the committee investigating it is yet to publish its findings. It's Trump's involvement in the insurgency that got him banned in the first place, and letting him back will be seen as opening the door to a repeat performance in 2025.

But given the Republican Party seems not to care about that, politically at least the door seems wide open for Trump's abrasive style to make a return. Brace yourself... or just prepare your block button.

It's been floating around in various forms for years, but the UK's landmark Online Safety Bill has taken a step forward this week as it heads towards becoming law and potentially reshaping social media entirely.

The Guardian's overview is worth a read to understand the basics of what's covered. The big questions are: will it work, and what unintended consequences will there be?

Social media companies face fines of up to £18 million, or 10% of global turnover, in serious cases. And tech execs can even go to jail for up to two years if they impede investigations or fail to act on enforcement of the bill. 

But even if this makes social media safer in some ways,  it could also make UK users' experience less useful and less enjoyable. The bill could easily lead to over-censorship as tech companies play it safe to avoid fines. The Wikimedia Foundation is worried about the impact it could have on Wikipedia, for example.

And an oddly specific ban on promoting human trafficking across the English Channel risks the censorship of others who are trying to raise awareness of refugees' plight.

Meanwhile, social media ad revenue could be hit if new age checks lead to lower user numbers. That could potentially impact tech companies' investment in, and focus on, the UK.

The bill is still some way from becoming law, but it's creeping closer, so the opportunities to ironing out the issues with this huge piece of legislation are diminishing. 

Meanwhile, online speech issues are also coming to a head in the US Supreme Court. But whatever concerns there might be either side of the Atlantic, a proposal in India sounds far worse. There, a government body could become the official fact-checker for social media platforms, which–given the track record of the Indian government–doesn't bode well at all.

🤔 Just a thought...

I wonder if he regrets firing the entire Twitter comms team yet? Probably not, but he should...

🙋 It's not just you

What's with the sudden rise in fake 'sexy ladies' on Instagram?

💫 Social media manager of the week

A shout out to whoever's behind the US National Park Service account on Twitter. You've really been nailing it lately. Lots of people have been DMing me about tweets from this account...

📈 Going viral

In the wake of the release of Prince Harry's tell-all book, I love this meme.

👀 First look

Twitter's 4,000-character tweet feature is nearly ready for prime time, and code diggers have been exposing the details. Tap through below to see a video of how much text you can fit in 4,000 characters. Get ready for some long-ass tweets.

  🔎 New insights

This study sounds like great news... until you realise that depressed people probably wouldn't get picked up by the research anyway. Tap through on my tweet and read the replies for some of the valid criticism.

😮 WTF?!

At Twitter, desperate times call for desperate auctions. Elon got a great price for an old statue though:

🗣️ Industry chatter

TikTok sharing revenue with creators sounds great, until you take a close look at the Ts and Cs...

📢 Audio boom?

After its Covid boom, how is podcasting shaping up now? I shared some highlights of from some new data here. Tap through for more:


💡 New feature spotlight

You've probably never wanted to video chat inside Twitter, but soon you might be able to...


👀 Reads of the week

Read this if you've ever lusted after a first-name Instagram handle, and then feel grateful you don't have one.


💬 You can quote me on that

When I'm mentioned in the news, you'll find it here:

I spoke to Vogue Business about the risks a TikTok ban poses for creators and brands using the platform


  • I told BBC News about how Twitter has a different vibe... And it's not a good one

  • I discussed complaints about Twitter's new For You feed with The Telegraph

❓ Question of the week

Social media managers have really been venting in the replies to this one. Take a look 👇

📈 Charts of the week

Oof. This chart paints a stark picture of Twitter's revenue problem.


📊 Stat of the week

LinkedIn is booming:


Meta News

Meta Portal... from Amazon? It could have been a thing:

  • Meta's stock is the best performer in the S&P 500 since its November low, but not all investors are convinced. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Meta's Oversight Board has overturned the removal of Instagram posts depicting transgender and non-binary people with bare chests. It says Meta needs to become more inclusive. [Reuters $$$]

  • Meta could be gearing up for more layoffs as it pressures average-rated employees to up their game. [The Information $$$]

  • Instagram is a happier place for teens than some thing, according to a new study. [Fast Company]

  • WhatsApp has been fined €5.5m for processing data without a lawful basis under GDPR. [TechCrunch]

  • Meta claims the metaverse will become 'as important as smartphones'. [Gizmodo]

  • Meta and Shutterstock have announced a partnership. [AdWeek $$$]

New features and tests:


  • Facebook now offers a 'Page Recommendation' feature. [@technical_gulab]

  • Facebook will remove the ability to link your news subscriptions to the platform from 6 February. [@DavidClinchNews]


  • Instagram has launched 'Quiet Mode' to help users take a break, and telling other users they're taking a break. It's been launched alongside new parental controls, hidden words for recommendations, and 'not interested' multi-select. [TechCrunch]

  • Instagram has been spotted offering a new 'Share Profile' option. [@hammodoh1]

  • Instagram is working on adding a chat reaction animation. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram could soon change the 'like' animation. [@alex193a]


  • Community Chats have been rolled out to more users. [@messenger]


  • WhatsApp is rolling out the 'Message Yourself' feature it was recently testing. [The Verge]

  • WhatsApp is testing a 'voice notes in status updates' feature. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp is working on a new shortcut to block users. [WABetaInfo]

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

  • Meta is centralising its user and privacy settings across its app and made changes to ad controls. [TechCrunch]

Twitter News

An embarrassing fail for Twitter's flagship product here: 

  • 'Blue for Business' has been renamed 'Verification for Organizations'. [@TwitterBusiness]

  • Thousands of fake Twitter accounts were made to support Andrew Tate. [BuzzFeed News]

  • Twitter has been sued over the data breach it says wasn't its fault. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • ...and another lawsuit alleges Twitter hasn't paid a consulting firm for help forcing Elon Musk to complete his purchase of the company. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Elon Musk has been in court over his notorious 'funding secured' Tesla tweet. [BBC News]

  • Twitter's moderation cuts are reportedly having the worst effect outside North America. [Washington Post $$$]

  • Extremist activity is growing on Twitter since its moderation cutbacks, a report from a UN-backed body says. [Financial Times $$$]

  • Video evidence reportedly exists of Twitter managers shrugging off staff warnings of violence, one day before the January 6 attack on Congress. [Rolling Stone]

New features and tests:

  • Twitter Blue has come to Android at the same price as on iOS. [TechCrunch]

  • Twitter has launched an annual subscription to Blue. [@MattNavarra]

  • The 'For You' and 'Following' feeds have been expanded to the web, with Android to follow. [TechCrunch]

  • Twitter has added Community Notes to quote tweets. [@CommunityNotes]

  • Twitter has moved the location of the tweet view counter. [@TwitterSupport]

  • Twitter has tweaked the 'For You' algorithm after it showed too many tweets from users you don't follow. [Insider]

  • Twitter is working on polls only open to Blue subscribers. [@wongmjane]

  • Twitter is building a video chat feature. [@alex193a]

  • Twitter is developing the 'Affiliates' tab, which will list a company's employees and brand accounts, if the company is a 'Verification for Organizations' subscriber. [@alex193a]

  • 4,000-character tweets look almost ready to launch. [@alex193a]

  • Comment downvotes could be on the way out. They've been removed from the latest Android alpha. [@alex193a]

  • Twitter has removed the "Latest" tab from the search results page for non-logged in users. [@wongmjane]

TikTok News

TikTok has considered giving US companies including Oracle oversight over its algorithms impacting US users, as it fights to avoid a ban in the country:

  •  TikTok could have already been banned in the EU if forthcoming rules were already in place, the company's CEO has been warning. [Social Media Today]

  • TikTok’s revenue-sharing terms are turning off some creators. To join Pulse, creators must grant TikTok rights to sub-license their content without receiving royalties. [Digiday $$$]

  • A Texas university has banned TikTok on cybersecurity grounds. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • TikTok’s new head of ecommerce reports directly to ByteDance, bypassing TikTok’s own CEO. [The Information $$$]

  • TikTok is a 'main priority' at BBC News in 2023. [Press Gazette]

  • ...and 78% of Comscore's top 50 news publishers have created TikTok accounts in the past two years. [Digiday]

  • 'Lucky Girl Syndrome' has taken off as a trend on TikTok. [Sky News]

  • The TikTok-famous Pink Sauce is now available at Walmart in the USA. [Insider]

New features and tests:

  • TikTok has expanded its 'state-controlled media' label to 40 more countries. [The Verge]

  • TikTok is testing a 'save' option for creators. [@MattNavarra]

  • TikTok Live now offers sound effects. [@jonah_manzano]

  • TikTok now promotes 'Templates' instead of 'Autocut' when selecting multiple videos or images. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok is testing a podcast tool with background listening. [Insider $$$]

💥 More social media news and updates

YouTube says it will adjust the anti-swearing policy that has enraged many creators:

  • YouTube has replaced TikTok as VidCon's title sponsor for 2023. YouTube had previously held the role for seven years. [Hollywood Reporter]

  • Discord has acquired compliments app Gas. [The Verge]

  • Amazon is paying influencers to use its TikTok rival, Inspire. [Insider $$$]

  • Social media companies bent rules to favour Trump, according to findings from the January 6 Committee. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • MrBeast says he can work up to 8 days non-stop on YouTube content. [Insider]

  • Australians should grass on influencers who fail to disclose ads, the country's consumer watchdog says. [The Guardian]

  • No, the kid from the 'Charlie Bit My Finger' video is NOT living the high-life on a yacht. [Insider]

New features and tests:

  • YouTube is testing a hub of free, ad-supported streaming channels in a cable-style bundle. [TechCrunch]

  • YouTube has been spotted offering scrubbing for Shorts. [@jonah_manzano]

  • YouTube is testing location tagging for Shorts, following TikTok in the addition of the feature. [@LindseyGamble_]

  • LinkedIn has removed the ‘Curious’ 🤨 emoji reaction. [@oncescuradu]

  • Twitter alternative Post has launched a dedicated feed of news articles from big publishers, which can be unlocked with micropayments. [Post]

  • Clubhouse has launched 'House Lounges' on the web. [AdWeek $$$]

📖 Weekend reading

😳 And finally...

This is why geeks shouldn't be given new toys. This is pure Black Mirror...

📅 Back next week...

…Boom! You’ve *almost* reached the end of this week’s Geekout 💥

Your social media manager IQ just went UP +4pts ✅ 

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You still here? Get the hell outta here and enjoy your weekend! :) 

Thanks for reading Geekout.

Goodbye geeks! 

– Matt


This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant

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