Facebook thinks it’s cool again

...but what the hell is Instagram thinking?! 🤬

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Hello, geeks!

Welcome to your geeky debriefing of everything that went down on the socials this week.

Switch on ‘do not disturb’ mode and settle in... I’ll bring you up to speed.

Before we kick things off… A pro-tip for you.

This newsletter is TOTAL garbage. But in the best possible way!

Trust me, you’ll want this in your inbox! « 👌🔥

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This week in social media land…

Zuck’s got big plans to make Facebook cool again. And it might just work. That wasn’t on my Meta bingo card for 2024.

Adam Mosseri is pissing off Instagram users with an unskippable ads test. You just know he’s going to post an IG story from the back of a taxi, explaining the test any minute now.

And Elon Musk gave the thumbs up to p**n on X. The ‘‘f**k brand safety’ strategy is go!

Never a dull moment with social media execs, huh? We’ll dig into all of this in a moment.

Geekout heads to Italy… 🇮🇹

A quick reminder that next week’s Geekout will be coming from Bologna, Italy.

I will be hanging out at the HUGE We Make Future festival, where I will be speaking on Friday 14 June.

60,000+ geeks. Hundreds of top speakers. Italian wine, food, and sunshine. Bring it on! 🍷🍕☀️

Geekout friends attending… Come find me. Let’s hangout!

_________

THIS IS GOOD…

What do social media algorithms really think about your content?

This FREE eBook will help you outsmart the social algorithms in 2024. 👇🤯

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  • How to outsmart the algorithm BEFORE it outplays you 🧠

  • The secret life of your content from creation to consumption 🕵️

  • Tips and tricks for using AI to your advantage 💪

  • Why "post and pray" is a recipe for social media disaster 🤐

Download the FREE social algorithms playbook now. It will change how you view your social content forever…

…And give you the edge over your competition in 2024. [ad]👇

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🔥 GEEKOUT HOT 5

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

  1. Instagram Began Test Of Unskippable Ads…And Everyone Hates It Already [FRUSTRATING] 🤬

  2. X Updated Rules To Officially Allow P**n On The Platform [XXX-RATING] 😵

  3. YouTube Insider Access Tied To Massive Leaks [INFILTRATING] 🚨

  4. TikTok Accounts Of High Profile Users Hijacked After DM Hack Exposed [EXPLOITING] 😈

Make your inbox a little less professional 🤪

Garbage Day is the Webby Award-winning newsletter from tech reporter and Geekout friend, Ryan Broderick. He’s awesome, btw. 

Three times a week (give or take), Garbage Day stuffs as much internet junk as possible into one email. So you don't have to go find it yourself.

Memes, weird viral videos, internet drama, whatever the heck is happening with AI — it's all in there.

Make your inbox a little less professional and remember what it was like to have fun online again. 👉 check it out here 👈

.

🚨 EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT…

Instagram will be right back after these messages

And the award for dumbest social platform move of the year goes to… well, we’re not even halfway through the year, but this has to be a strong contender.

Meta is testing unskippable ads in the Instagram main feed. There you are, happily scrolling, when a video ad blocks your way and you can’t carry on scrolling until you’ve watched the whole damn thing.

I get it, ads are fundamental to Meta’s existence. As the company’s statement on the test puts it, “we’re always testing formats that can drive value for advertisers.

But that “value for advertisers” has to be balanced at all times with user experience, or “value for users” as you could put it. Otherwise, you’ll lose users and your ads will be less valuable.

Stopping the scroll is so obviously a bad idea, it’s a surprise they even need to test it. While YouTube has successfully introduced unskippable ads, it gives you an easy way to pay to avoid all ads, and gives you longform content that it’s worth sticking around through a couple of short ads for.

Instagram is different. As Ryan Broderick put it this week in Garbage Day (you should subscribe to this!):

“There is not a single piece of content on any Meta platform that is worth sitting through an unskippable ad to watch the entirety of. In fact, you could argue that Meta’s entire business model is based on bundling together the worst, most worthless content on the internet and delivering at a scale where quality no longer actually matters.”

– Ryan Broderick, Garbage Day

This product idea is all too similar to how Google has put revenue ahead of user experience in Search.

It’s so bad, that app feature satirist Soren Iverson was actually amazed he hadn’t thought of it first.

Hopefully this test goes nowhere. Or maybe it becomes so successful that we all just learn to love tolerate it. But I really hope common sense wins out here. Some revenue is worth leaving on the table.

________________

Surprise! Facebook is cool again (kinda)

Facebook has a reputation as a dying platform, flooded with bad memes and viral content and the occasional post from your old schoolfriend’s mum about the lovely soup she made last week.

But word from inside Meta in recent years has talked about how Facebook was actually attracting young users thanks to specific features like Gaming and its Marketplace.

Now the company has released some numbers. Apparently, Facebook has 40 million daily active users of Facebook in the US and Canada between the ages of 18 and 29.

Axios estimates that’s just shy of 20% of the platform’s North American userbase, but it represents a growing demographic.

So what’s drawing them back? According to Meta, it’s a combination of Marketplace, dating (people LIKE Facebook Dating?!), groups, events, Reels, and a focus on being creator-friendly.

Facebook still has a long way to go to match its mid-to-late 2000s cool heyday when some of the young people it’s targeting now weren’t even born.

But maybe it’s time to look beyond the ‘old folk believing AI images are real’ stereotype of the app today, and see that Facebook still has a lot to offer, even if it’s hardly TikTok, Instagram, or Snapchat…yet.

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NEW & NOTEWORTHY

Everything else worth knowing about from the past seven days…

Meta / Facebook 👥

Instagram

Threads / WhatsApp 🪡 💬

Twitter (‘X’) 🤡

YouTube 📺

TikTok 📱

Telegram / Snapchat / LinkedIn / More… ⭐️

🔥 Want to see more hot NEW features spotted in the wild this week?
Just head to the More news’ section below!

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😆 LOL

X is NOT LinkedIn…

 

🪧 BRANDS

Lego won the social internet this week with this ‘God-Tier’ post. It might take a moment to get it, but once you do…

It was a way of drawing attention to Lego’s Tuxedo Cat product and it won the awe of social marketers. I believe it’s the work of senior brand strategist Moshe Isaacian. 👏👏👏

The only thing to make it perfect would have been some thought about accessibility. As Alexa Heinrich noted, anyone using screen reader software would be screwed, especially with the lack alt text for the cat photo.

Lego follows an X post of nonnsensical characters, with a photo of its Tuxedo Cat product sitting on a laptop.

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🎯 RECORD BREAKER

After weeks of inching closer to his goal, MrBeast has overtaken India’s T-Series as YouTube’s most-subscribed channel.

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🌡️ GOING VIRAL

Top engagement hack right now? Mispronouncing a word everyone knows how to say. All the comments correcting you and laughing at you can be algorithm gold.

It’s shameless and tacky, but it’s working.

Also:

  • The Instagram ‘no launch’ is (apparently) the latest online dating trend

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🙊 WHAT DID YOU SAY?!

Don’t try to hack engagement

If we believe your content explicitly asks for engagement through shares, comments, tags, or other actions, then we won’t recommend it.

An example of this is asking people to comment with a specific word, number, or emoji.”

Instagram explains what kinds of engagement hacking might end up limiting your reach

Also:

  • Elon Musk and Yann LeCun, are still sparring over each other’s credibility in AI

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🗳️ ELECTION SOCIAL

There’s less than a month to go until the UK general election, and things are hotting up:

Labour spent more than £1.2m last week: £605,000 on Google, mostly YouTube, and £684,964 on Facebook and Instagram

They outspent the Conservatives by a factor of fourL: they put £69,800 into Google and ⁠£280,406 on Facebook and Instagram.

Also:

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📣 PSA

Watch out for a buggy feature in Instagram. Removing accounts ‘flagged for review’ is getting more than a little over-excited at the moment, it seems…

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👀 GOOD READ

This is worth a read. It offers lots of smart insights from Sprout Social’s recent webinar with Taylor Lorenz.

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🪦 RIP

Social media features heading for the graveyard:

The content moderator role in Facebook Groups will be no more at the start of next month:

Also:

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😮 WTF?!

“If you’ve been on the Facebook app lately, you might’ve seen Meta’s AI inject itself into the comment section with summaries of what people say.

“Given how wild Facebook comment sections often become, it’s not hard to imagine how ridiculous some of these summaries turn out.”

Also:

  • A Facebook Page used an AI-Generated image of a disabled veteran to farm engagement

  • Taylor Swift fan Pages on Facebook have been taken over by animal abuse, p**n, and scams 😬

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 🤦 FAIL

“Smash that like button”… so hard it disappears?

This was a weird bug on YouTube this week…

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🛠️ TOP TOOLS

The fediverse is growing in popularity. While Mastodon is its most popular home, everywhere from Threads to Flipboard has been joining the fun in recent months.

But Bluesky is building its own alternative, so it’s outside the fediverse…. until now, thanks to Bridgy Fed, which bridges the ActivityPub and AT protocols:

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🤖 SOCIAL A.I.

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

YouTube is testing ‘Dream Screen’ AI-generated backgrounds for Shorts:

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📊 SOCIAL STATS

60%

– The share of time in the app adult Instagram users are expected to spend watching video in 2024

  • WhatsApp Channels now have 500 million users

  • LinkedIn users shared 41% more content in spring 2023 compared with the same period in 2021, and other reasons to pay attention to the platform

  • Pinterest drives 170% more attention than other rival platforms, according to research commissioned by…. Pinterest 🧐

  • Twitter banned 70,000 right-wing accounts after the January 6th Insurrection. The Lies plummeted

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📈 CHARTED

Young people are increasingly using social apps, TikTok and Instagram in particular, for business discovery purposes:

.

MORE META NEWS

  • Days before EU elections, Facebook is failing to flag inflammatory AI ads. [Daily Dot]

  • Meta has released data in a sextortion case after criticism from the mother of a teen boy who died. [BBC News]

  • Spain has banned Meta from launching election features on Facebook and Instagram, over privacy fears. [TechCrunch]

  • A Belgian far-right MEP has won a ‘shadowban’ case against Meta. [Politico]

  • Italy has fined Meta more than $5 million for unfair commercial practices. [TechTimes]

  • Mark Zuckerberg has been dropped from a lawsuit blaming Meta for child exploitation. [Fast Company]

  • Instagram has been spotted prominently promoting Threads. [@chris]

  • Meta will settle Texas lawsuit over Facebook facial recognition data. [Reuters $$$]

  • Meta has announced the dates for its 2024 Connect VR/AI conference, on 25 and 26 September. [Social Media Today]

  • ‘Quest 3S’ might be the name of Meta’s more affordable VR headset. [The Verge]

New features and tests:

Facebook:

  • Facebook could soon display a ‘online connections’ account in the Professional dashboard. [@oncescruadu]

  • Facebook has been spotted offering a redesigned notifications pane. [@cmcalgary]

Instagram:

  • Instagram has added ‘Add Yours’ to DMs. [@jonahmanzano]

  • Instagram now lets you create a QR Code for a broadcast channel. [@ihammod_oh]

  • Instagram now lets you mention friends even if they’re not on Instagram, with a new "Invite" mention option. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram has been spotted showing trending audio notifications. [@jonahmanzano]

  • Instagram has added a ‘Leads’ feature for content creators and businesses. [@oncescuradu]

  • Instagram has replaced the Threads-branded post background on Stories, letting you use coloured backgrounds instead. [@theahmedghanem]

Threads:

  • Threads could soon add a shortcut to the composer in the profile header. [@alex193a]

Messenger:

WhatsApp:

  • WhatsApp could soon let you forward messages and files to Channels. [Android Police]

  • Google is testing a WhatsApp integration for business profiles. [SEO Roundtable]

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

  • A cheaper ‘Quest 3S’ headset might have been spotted in a Meta video. [Upload VR]

  • Meta Quest now offers a better way to watch Netflix, plus a travel mode. [Engadget]

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MORE X NEWS

  • Elon Musk reportedly diverted thousands of AI chips from Tesla to X. [The Verge]

  • Australia's eSafety commission has dropped its case against X. [Social Media Today]

  • X’s head of business operations, a long-time ally of CEO Linda Yaccarino is leaving the company. [Wall Street Journal $$$]

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MORE TIKTOK NEWS

  • TikTok has chosen 15 ‘Visionary Voices’ to highlight in the app during Pride Month. [Social Media Today]

  • TikTok has appointed new legal counsel to oppose the US ‘ban bill’. [Social Media Today]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • What TikTok metrics you need to track for TikTok marketing in 2024. [Sprout Social]

  • TikTok has shared a handy collection of key tips and inspiration, which could help in your TikTok marketing approach. [Social Media Today]

  • TikTok has published a guide to Father’s Day promotions in the app. [Social Media Today]

  • TikTok has shared some key tips for fashion marketers on the platform. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:

  • TikTok Live Gaming has added a new feature called Play Together. [@jonahmanzano]

  • TikTok Shop Creator Center invites creators to join and earn commission by promoting products from sellers. [@jonahmanzano]

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💥 EVEN MORE SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS & UPDATES

  • …and TWO artists are claiming credit for creating the image with AI. [NPR]

  • Twitch is raising its US subscription prices for the first time. [Engadget]

  • Twitch has attracted pro-Palestinian influencers as rival sites back off politics. [Washington Post $$$]

  • Discord is launching new developer-friendly monetisation features and lower platform fees. [The Verge]

  • Deplatforming “supersharers” of misinformation can limit its overall spread, a new study has found. [Washington Post $$$]

  • Snapchat has launched a new ad campaign to promote connecting in the app. [Social Media Today]

  • Reddit has its first ads API partner, Sprinklr. [Social Media Today]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • How marketers can win on Reddit, from the platform's CMO. [AdWeek $$$]

  • Snap has shared insights into the effectiveness of AR for brand promotion. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:

  • LinkedIn’s Wire Program, enabling media companies to sell pre-roll ads on their editorial video, has launched in beta. [Digiday $$$]

  • Snapchat Spotlight now lets you share content anonymously. [@jonahmanzano]

  • Bluesky now supports post sharing via DMs, temporary accoutn deactivation, and more. [@cmcalgary]

.

📰 WEEKEND READS

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😳 AND FINALLY…

I am constantly viewed as ‘delulu’ by my 14 year old daughter.

Casually slipping a few of these words into chat over some ‘bussin’ dinner (no cap) was NOT appreciated by her last night 💀

Do you know what any of 👇 these👇 mean?

No? …read on….

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📅 BACK NEXT WEEK…

… Right folks. That’s all I got for you this week.

Geekout… Done

If you enjoyed it, go post a TikTok or something, telling people Geekout slaps. (sorry. not sorry.)

But before you go… I want to help YOU!

Want to take your social media / marketing career to the next level?

I’m going to open up a limited number of coaching call slots with me next month.

You can leverage my 15+ years industry experience, my little black book of contacts, and my ADHD mind, to troubleshoot your career dilemmas and challenges.

They will be paid session. I’ll keep the price affordable. 

Interested? Hit reply to this email NOW and I will send you more info + add you to the waitlist.

__________

It’s time for us to get outta here.

I’m heading off to rummage around in my garage to dig out my Glastonbury camping gear. ⛺️

I hope I don’t need my wellies this year 🙏

Goodbye, geeks!

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

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