Elon doesn't want you to know what he likes

...and YouTube is going even harder on ad blockers

Hello, geeks!

Ciao from sunny Bologna! ☀️ 

Geekout is coming to you live (well, not really live) from the We Make Digital Festival in Italy. 🇮🇹

To kick things off this week … The YouTube feature I hope NEVER gets launched. 😱


This week in social media land…

X made likes private (has Elon done something right for a change?!), YouTube is getting even tougher on ad blockers (they really want you to cough up for Premium), and BeReal got sold to a gaming company (can a new owner make a success of that briefly hot app?).

Meanwhile, there are LOADS of new social media features you need to know about.

LinkedIn Premium Company Pages rolling out is a big one for social media managers, as are the new custom comment prompts on Instagram.

But we’ll get into all of that in a moment. But first….


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

  1. YouTube gets even tougher on ad blockers, with new server-side tech [TOUGH]

  2. BeReal acquired by video game + app developer Voodoo for €500 million [BUFF]

  3. New York passes legislation to ban ‘addictive’ algorithms for kids [ENOUGH]

  4. X execs claim 65% of advertisers have returned since January [GUFF]



X hides likes - but is that a good thing?

We all know what Elon Musk likes: being allowed to become even richer than her already was.

But on X, your Likes are now private. As the screenshot above shows, you can still see your own Likes, but the days of perusing another users’ Likes to find something embarrassing that they liked are over.

As X embraces adult content more fully, it makes sense to hide Likes.

And even if you don’t engage with that kind of content at all, being able to like something without fear of someone kicking up a fuss about it might lead to more authentic and relaxed conversations on the platform.

But a user’s list of Likes on Twitter/X list could sometimes be a useful look into their psyche, especially if they were in some way accountable to the public. No more can a politician face a grilling for hypocrisy about posts they like.

And if you are in a position of great responsibility and you click Like on a bunch of truly reprehensible stuff, it’s certainly worth the public knowing what it appears that your views are.

But in most cases, the privacy is probably a good thing. If you’re a fashion influencer who wants to like a bunch of posts about Nintendo games, you should be able to do so without worrying about being labelled a ‘gamer’ against your wishes by nosey X users.

For nearly 20 years, being able to see what posts another user has liked has been completely normal. But I wonder if we’ll look back on that age as a relic of a different time in social media, where we hyper-shared our every thought.

That time is long gone. For most people, participating in social media is now a more considered activity, where it’s normal to hold most of yourself back. And let’s face it, Like counts have been downplayed by other platforms like Instagram in recent years, too.

Elon Musk’s X might get a lot of things wrong, but on balance, this move feels right.



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

Instagram / Facebook

Threads / WhatsApp

Twitter (‘X’)



LinkedIn / Snapchat / Discord

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



When social media managers just need to vent…

Rishi Sunak’s attempt to seem relatable by saying he didn’t have Sky TV as a kid didn’t go down well…. and the memes flowed:



Fast-food chain Chipotle is the victim of a weird TikTok trend where users complain that its portion sizes have shrunk…

…even though company insists it’s still serving the same amount of food as ever 🤷‍♂️




‘Looking for a Man in Finance’ continues to rule the (TikTok) world. Now superstar DJ David Guetta is involved:


@Girl On Couch still hasnt found her man in finance though 🥲



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

I spoke to Chris Stokel-Walker for Digital Frontier about the implications of X hiding likes…



“Despite account transfers being against the rules of most social-media platforms, the practice is widespread — and lucrative.”




Like it or not, X still matters.

“Paid ads for political candidates are all over the platform, and politics insiders are secretly buying blue checks.”



This interview with Instagram and Threads boss Adam Mosseri is well worth a watch.

A couple of highlights:

  • Sends per reach is the key metric to look at to judge the performance of your content “Of the people who saw it, how many of them sent it to a friend? Because that tends to be the content that does the best”

  • “Shares per Impression” is now the most important factor when it comes to reach, on average.


😮 WTF?!

Look, just because Volodymyr Zelenskyy went from being a TV comedian to a strong wartime leader in Ukraine, doesn’t mean a YouTuber is going to be a great politician…




This is a handy browser-based tool for creating custom emoji stickers.

Google already offers a similar Emoji Kitchen feature on Android, and Apple’s upcoming Genmoji feature in iOS 18 will give you even more ways to cook up the perfect emoji.




Social media features heading for the graveyard:

CapCut’s Smart Edit feature will shut down on 21 June




Elon Musk showed a sadly familiar failure to grasp technical details when he swiftly laid into Apple’s upcoming AI features in iOS, completely misrepresenting the company’s deal with OpenAI.

X users were happy to give him a fact check.



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




– the percentage of US Republican voters who now think X is “mostly good” for American democracy, compared to just 26% of Democrats - a big shift since Elon bought Twitter



Despite what publishers might want, social platforms aren’t a home for news for most users:



  • Meta has explained how it’s protecting athletes and fans on its apps during this summer’s major sporting events. [Meta Newsroom]

New features and tests:


  • Facebook now shows highlights Reels under Insights. [@jonahmanzano]


  • Instagram has added labels to help businesses organise customer messages. [@lindseygamble_]

  • Instagram is working on adding categories to the emoji picker. [@alex193a]


  • Threads is testing a shortcut for the post composer in the profile header. [@oncescuradu]


  • WhatsApp could soon get smarter about showing relevant status updates first. [Android Police]

  • WhatsApp is making it easier to access security settings for status updates. [Android Police]



  • Indonesia could ban X if the platform doesn’t block adult content in the country. [Reuters $$$]

  • X is demanding money from laid-off employees, claiming they were overpaid severance. [Ars Technica]

  • X staff have a lot of unanswered questions about the promotions being delayed. [The Verge]

  • X has asked the US Supreme Court to review the process that led special counsel Jack Smith to obtain Trump’s Twitter files. [Politico]

New features and tests:



Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Doing brand marketing on TikTok? Check out the platform’s new guide. [Social Media Today]



  • Tech and competition watchdog groups have urged the US DOJ to investigate YouTube's alleged anti-competitive practices in the home entertainment market. [Tech Times]

  • The English Football Association is funding a police unit to catch those who abuse England players on social media. [The Guardian]

  • A California state judge sided Friday with Meta, Snap, TikTok, and Google against allegations by school districts. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Substack has picked 10 TikTok influencers to support as they begin to use the newsletter platform. [Washington Post $$$]

  • Alex Jones could lose his social media accounts as part of his bankruptcy. [Gizmodo]

  • Reddit has announced a brand safety and suitability partnership with DoubleVerify. [Social Media Today]

  • A proposed EU law wants permission to scan your encrypted messages. [TechRadar]

  • Pinterest has launched a promotional campaign to highlight discovery on the platform. [Social Media Today]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Snap has shared insights into the value of film promotions on Snapchat. [Social Media Today]

  • Understanding influencer contracts and agreements. [Later]

New features and tests:

  • YouTube is making handles available in additional languages. [@jonahmanzano]

  • Reddit has added a brand affiliate tag for sponsored content. [@MattNavarra]

  • Discord will soon let you join calls directly from your PS5. [The Verge]

  • iMessage on Apple’s iOS18 will previews link cards for social media posts. [MacRumors]

  • Clubhouse is working on hands-free recording. [@alex193a]





Have you really lived if you haven’t been blocked by a celebrity on social media…?



That’s all folks!

You are now fully debriefed on everything new in social this week. 

Time for me to get out of the sun and head to the after party, here at the WMF festival in Bologna, Italy. 

Have a great weekend, ya’ll.

Goodbye, geeks!

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

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