Jack and Elon are texting about me
...I'm not joking.
Welcome to this week’s edition of Geekout! How has your week gone?
My week in three words: Exciting. Nervewracking. Super-f**king-weird!
Also… Did you see these? 💀
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Right… Let’s crack on with the biggest stories everyone’s talking about this week:
🔥 GEEKOUT HOT 5
Elon Musk’s Cringe Text Messages to Twitter Execs Revealed [TOP TEXTS]
Meta’s New AI Generates Video From Just Text [SUPER FLY AI]
Google Search for the TikTok Generation Unveiled [SEARCH WARS]
Twitter’s TikTok-Style Video Feed Rolls Out Globally [TWITTER FYP]
Meta Kills Ad-Free, Reels-Free Instagram Rival App [SHUTDOWN]
What else has gone down this week? Quite a lot, actually! Here’s everything else new and noteworthy this week:
Meta confirmed Pornhub’s Instagram account is permanently suspended… Instagram‘s weird Snapchat / Twitter-like Frankenstein ‘Notes’ feature is rolling out to more users… Meanwhile, Instagram has removed the shopping tab for some users (social commerce plans not working out)... WhatsApp has a new Zoom-like sharable call links feature… Meta also added a new Facebook <-> Instagram account switcher thing… And Facebook’s testing a ‘first-look’ subscriber-only post privacy feature for creators.
It’s finally happening! This is the first ever edited tweet on Twitter… Twitter is also testing out a bunch of other new features, including the ability to pin a Twitter Community on your profile, and a new ‘First 48 hours’ tweet metric. Twitter also rolled out its TikTok-style video feed (good luck with that, Twitter)... And its new trending video carousel in the Explore tab.
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LinkedIn launched new features for advertisers (including a new ‘Document Ad’ format)...And a collection of new bits and pieces for LinkedIn Company Pages… YouTube is currently testing a redesign of its homepage… TikTok is working on playback speed controls (who TF needs 2x playback on short TikTok videos?!)... Also, TikTok fake account removal rate is up 2,000% over the past 12 months.
Snap is desperate to get older people using Snapchat…Google is adding a discussions and forum section to search results… Google search will also now query Reddit and Quora for open ended question results… And finally… Mr Beast wants to run for president (why the f**k not? Trump had a go).
WORTH A LOOK 👀
🙌 DREAM JOB: 6 reasons social media managers love their jobs. [YAY!]
💥 GEEKOUT VIP: Join 29,000+ SMMs in the Private Geekout Group on FB [JOIN US]
✨ FREE GUIDE: The Instagram Guide to Using Reels for Marketers [CHECK IT OUT]
🤓 GEEKY: A Geeky Guide to How a QR Code Actually Works [THIS WAY NERD]
💰 TIKTOK: How Business-Savvy Teens Are Making Crazy $$$ From TikTok [LOOK N LEARN]
Hungry for more? Top up your drink, relax, and keep scrolling. My analysis of the top talking points in social this week is coming up next.👇
P.S. THE GEEKOUT WEEKLY TWITTER SPACE IS BACK. Join us with special guest Jack Appleby of Morning Brew's Future Social newsletter to chew over Elon's texts and all the other big news at 5pm UK time / 12pm ET / 9am PT LISTEN LIVE / CATCH UP
🚨 Everyone's talking about...
The text messages of (maybe) the world's richest person must surely be a hive of juicy gossip, right? Right! Now we know for sure, after text messages to and from Musk relating to his deal to buy Twitter were made public in a court filing.
There is so much in there, and it fills in a lot of gaps about what we knew about the deal. We see how Musk's relationship with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal went off the rails as Agrawal pointed out how Musk's tweets like 'Is Twitter dying?' harmed the company he was already a significant investor in, while Musk thought Agrawal was moving too slowly.
We also learn that Jack Dorsey (or 'jack jack' as Musk has him in his phone) wanted Musk on the company's board much earlier than when he was invited. Dorsey told Musk "you care so much, get [Twitter's] importance, and could def help in immeasurable ways.” It seems he saw Musk as an important player in turning Twitter into more of a protocol and less of a business (which is an easy thing to want after you've made a ton of money from floating that business on the stock market).
Other juicy tidbits include Musk's friend Jason Calacanis suggesting Musk gets MrBeast involved to boost the number of young Twitter users... and getting told off by Musk for making him look desperate, by trying to round up a group of investors on his behalf.
And then there's German publishing giant Axel Springer offering to run Twitter for Musk, and tech investor Steve Jurvetson suggesting former Uber exec Emil Michael would be a good Twitter CEO. Well, if you wanted to dig up dirt on journalists, Twitter would be a good platform to run.
There's a whole load of cringe in there too, showing the human side of Silicon Valley's rich and powerful.
Since Meta isn't going to give you the ad-free, Reels-free version of Instagram you crave, someone else decided to give it a go.
The OG App launched this week with a slick homepage, promising the ability to "easily filter what you see in your Instagram feed, create custom feeds, remove Reels, ads, suggested content, and more."
But Meta was having none of it. The app quickly disappeared from Apple's App Store, and Meta said the app "violates our policies and we’re taking all appropriate enforcement actions."
The app's developers say they've been permanently banned from Facebook and Instagram, but as it stands the app itself is still available on Android. Think carefully about installing it though, while the developers claim they can't see your login details, you have to take their word for it.
The episode is a stark reminder that most social platforms exist primarily to make money from ads, not to let you communicate. Breaking free of their hold is not simple because the platform owners hold most of the power... and you risk your privacy if you try to dodge their money-making.
That said, the makers of the OG App told Engadget: "users deserve the right to control what they consume, and OG will continue to defend and fight for that right." So watch this space... perhaps?
A.I. art is moving forward at a rapid pace. DALL-E was opened to all this week, meaning you can easily sign up to turn text describing pretty much anything into high-quality images. But then Meta kicked things up a level when it revealed Make-A-Video.
It's early days for the tech and you can't try Make-A-Video yourself yet, but this is still a huge leap forward. It's ironic, though, that a company so important to the fight against online misinformation is building something that could eventually let you generate believable video of any scene you can imagine. Who's going to believe anything they see ever again?
OpenAI's DALL-E has some strict rules to stop you doing things like depicting real people, but it's easy to see imagine a determined faker working around that.
Casey Newton points out that A.I. text generators could do far more harm than image or video generators, which is a fair point. But in the medium term, we might all feel our grip on reality slipping away - and social platforms are only going to make that a lot easier unless they're very careful and start planning for that future now.
💡 New feature spotlight
Imagine Instagram made it easy for you to DM your followers when you drop a new post. You might soon be able to.
📈 Going viral
Rihanna's tweet, cryptically announcing she's going to headline the Super Bowl half-time show in February, got everyone talking...
...and it was (predictably) prime fresh meat for social media managers worldwide:
here we go to another trend 🥴
— 𝖌𝖆𝖇𝖗𝖎𝖊𝖑 🏈 (@gabgonebad)
Sep 26, 2022
👉 On-point meme
Don’t mind me, I’m just waiting for approvals for these brand social posts…
— Jon-Stephen Stansel (@jsstansel)
Sep 24, 2022
🗣 Industry chatter
Rachel Karten stirred up an interesting discussion this week about how Very Online you need to be to be good at your job. Can you ever really switch off?
people who work in social media! do you feel like you need to be Very Online to be good at your job?
dm or reply! it's for a future newsletter!
— Rachel Karten (@milkkarten)
Sep 23, 2022
And the answers to my question about working hours were depressingly predictable. Many social media managers end up working an unhealthy amount of hours per week:
social media managers
How many hours do you spend working each week?
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra)
Sep 29, 2022
❓ Question of the week
Lots of fun replies to this one! Prepare to be terrified...
how do you scare a social media manager in 5 words or less?
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra)
Sep 30, 2022
Some choice replies:
“Copying in legal for approval”
— Mattieverse💡 (@mattie_bennett)
Sep 30, 2022
“Mosseri just tweeted a video”
— markislav (@markislav)
Sep 30, 2022
🤦 Fail of the week
So much fail here: how did this happen? Why was the material even up on Twitter? Unsurprisingly, more than 30 brands have suspended their ad campaigns as a result.
Talk about severe punishment: "A person who “publicly disseminates false information about the internal and external security, public order or general health of the country” or that disturbs the public peace and creates anxiety, fear, or panic can be sentenced to one to three years in prison."
That could literally be pretty much anything on social media, depending on how you interpret it.
🔨 Nailed it
Social media managers nailing it with top posts for brands:
First of all, congratulations to Tesco for getting real hit with their first TikTok video:
Aldi's response is worth a look, too.
And I really liked this fun exchange between Paramount+ and Scream on Twitter:
👀 Read of the week
"As short-form video explodes, YouTube, Twitch, Snap and other tech platforms are reasserting leverage with influencers in the area that matters most: how to divvy up subscription and ad revenues."
💬 You can quote me on that
When I'm mentioned in the news, you'll find it here:
I spoke to L'OFFICIEL Magazine about my career path from social media manager to social media consultant:
Social media regulation: I shared my thoughts with the Press Association about how it might change in the wake of today's Molly Russell ruling.
💡 New feature spotlight
The TikTok-style platforms are all gradually reaching feature parity. This one will be popular with creators...
YouTube just added a voiceover feature for YouTube Shorts 🗣️
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra)
Sep 27, 2022
📈 Charts of the week
A massive milestone for BeReal, but can it maintain the momentum and turn these downloads into daily active users?
😆 LOL tweets
Tap through for maximum effect...
Me liking a tweet and five minutes later liking a quote tweet completely disagreeing with it
— Tycho Cortese (@tychocortese)
Sep 26, 2022
Mark Zuckerberg has said Meta will end 2023 as a “somewhat smaller” organisation, as it implements a hiring freeze and plans further restructuring and downsizing.
Instagram's Creator Marketplace isn't succeeding in achieving brand deals, according to some influencers. [Insider $$$]
Instagram has permanently banned P**nhub’s account. Meta says Pornhub has repeatedly violated its terms but hasn't specified how. [The Verge]
The Rohingya people want Meta to pay reparations for its role of the genocide against them in Myanmar. [AP]
Meta isn't getting any help from Snap, TikTok, and Google over a series of addiction lawsuits. [Bloomberg $$$]
Meta has removed thousands of 'inauthentic' Facebook and Instagram pages and accounts linked to Russia and China. Some of the Russian pages pretended to be popular Western news sites. [Bloomberg $$$]
WhatsApp's boss has spoken out against the UK's push to weaken encryption, calling it a threat to security. [Financial Times $$$]
WhatsApp has fixed an Android bug that could have allowed hackers to place malware on a phone during a video call. [TechCrunch]
Meta is rolling out its rebrand of Facebook Pay to Meta Pay globally. [TechCrunch]
Meta has apologised for letting teenager Molly Russell see harmful content on Instagram before she killed herself. [Financial Times $$$]
...but the Meta exec who spoke at the inquest has been accused of being "frequently evasive". [The Guardian]
New features and tests:
Meta is testing a central way of creating and switching between different Facebook and Instagram accounts. [Meta Newsroom]
Facebook and Instagram now both offer NFT sharing to all US users. [CoinDesk]
Facebook is testing a new share post composer on iOS. [@MattNavarra]
Facebook has been spotted offering an 'early access for subscribers' feature on posts. [@jonah_manzano]
Instagram is testing a 'Public' tab in messages, for messaging followers with alerts about new posts. [@hammodoh1]
Instagram has been spotted testing a home feed without a shopping tab. [The Verge]
Instagram is giving some users an 'All' tab in messages, combining primary, general, and requests into one. [@hammodoh1]
Instagram is testing feature that lets you leave a note for your followers. It was first spotted in June and now appears to be being tested more widely. [The Verge]
Instagram has been spotted offering a new Reels feature called Grooves, which cuts your video to a song automatically. [@jonah_manzano]
Instagram is testing 'double-tap to like' for Stories. [@JackHorwood]
Instagram could soon let you search through a the list of a Story's viewers. [@alex193a]
Instagram is still working on the ability to add interests to your profile bio. [@alex193a]
Instagram has updated its parents' guide for the new school year. [Social Media Today]
Instagram continues to develop its nudity protection feature. [@alex193a]
Instagram is working on a 'trending creator' badge. [@alex193a]
Instagram is readying an 'Autumn' chat theme. [@alex193a]
WhatsApp is rolling out a sharable Call Links feature. [TechCrunch]
The rest: Creator Studio/adtech/Quest and more:
Meta has announced five new call ad updates, including a smart in-app calling feature. [Search Engine Land]
Horizon Worlds has rolled out its new Personal Spaces and Portals features. [Oculus blog]
The original Oculus Quest will get a hand-tracking update in October. [UploadVR]
Details of the Meta Quest 3 have apparently leaked. [UploadVR]
Mark Zuckerberg has teased a mixed reality fencing game for Quest Pro. [UploadVR]
Twitter accused Elon Musk of hiding his own data scientists' inability to find the scale of bot problem he claims the platform has.
Elon Musk texted into the early morning with Oracle boss Larry Ellison before announcing he was 'pausing' the Twitter deal, according to a court filing. [Insider $$$]
...and Musk is very likely to be forced to buy Twitter, one legal expert says. [Insider $$$]
Elon Musk has meanwhile launched an appeal in a bid to have SEC restrictions on his tweets removed. [TechCrunch]
New features and tests:
Twitter has demoed an edited tweet, complete with edit history. [@TwitterBlue]
Twitter is rolling out its TikTok-style, full-screen immersive video feature. [The Verge]
Twitter's podcasts feature is now available to Blue subscribers on Android. [XDA Developers]
Twitter Blue has a new splash page. [@MattNavarra]
Twitter is testing a tweaked design for DMs on Android. [@MaxJmb]
Twitter has been spotted testing a new, tidier sidebar. [@MartinSFP]
Twitter is working on a 'first 48 hours' section in tweet analytics. [@nima_owji]
Twitter is developing a Shopping button that would allow you to explore shops, along with a new set of in-app icons. [@wongmjane]
Twitter could soon let Professional profiles spotlight a Community. [@alex193a]
Twitter is working on a new landing page for Blue. [@wongmjane]
Twitter has some new seasonal icons on the way for Blue subscribers. [@alex193a]
Twitter is working on a "Share this Tweet with anyone, even if they aren’t on Twitter yet” prompt. [@wongmjane]
Twitter is building an 'edit with Twitter Blue' prompt to promote the edit button. [@nima_owji]
Twitter is still working on a discovery view for its Custom Timelines feature. [@wongmjane]
TikTok is reportedly working towards a deal that would see it able to continue operating in the US.
TikTok was the top grossing app across all app stores in Q3 this year, according to Sensor Tower data. [TechCrunch]
TikTok's Be-Real clone app TikTok Now hit more than 5 million downloads during its first week, with the highest number of downloads in Brazil, Pakistan, and Egypt. [@MattNavarra]
TikTok could be fined £27m for not protecting children's data well enough in the UK. [Bloomberg $$$]
TikTok says its fake account removal activity increased 61% to 33.6m in Q2 of this year. [TechCrunch]
Senior TikTok staff keep leaving, reportedly because ByteDance in China has such an influence over the company. [Forbes $$$]
Apple has reportedly fired an exec whose crude remarks went viral on TikTok. [The Verge]
TikTok users' interest in 'NyQuil chicken' increased 1,400% following the FDA's warning about the dangerous trend - but that still only amounted to 7,000 searches. [BuzzFeed News]
Chinese creators are using TikTok to share rapid-fire summaries of Hollywood movies. [Rest of World]
New features and tests:
TikTok has gated Live Studio behind a set of requirements around account activity and follower counts. [@jonah_manzano]
TikTok will now let you watch videos at 2x playback speed, but you have to set it on a per-video basis. [@MattNavarra]
TikTok has been spotted offering a new in-app security alerts feature. [@MattNavarra]
TikTok is giving all users access to comment downvotes. [Social Media Today]
TikTok has rolled out multi-participant livestreams to more users. [Social Media Today]
💥 More social media news and updates
"As Snap struggles to reverse slowing growth and improve its advertising business, parts of the company are operating with a "code red" mentality and more aggressively working to entice older users to join Snapchat."
UK teenager Molly Russell died while suffering from negative effects of content on Instagram and Pinterest, a coroner has ruled. [The Guardian]
Snap's head of luxury says AR is key to attracting upmarket buyers. [Bloomberg $$$]
Snap is launching a series of Halloween-themed Spotlight Challenges, with a total prize pool of $100,000. [TubeFilter]
Snap has announced a content partnership with LaLiga. [Social Media Today]
LinkedIn's A/B tests could have affected users' job prospects, research found. [New York Times $$$]
Twitch has restricted browser support to just Chrome, Edge, and Firefox, with no explanation. [The Verge]
Twitch's SVP of global creators resigned on the same day the company announced a controversial new revenue split for top creators. [Insider $$$]
...and an internal email from Twitch's CEO to staff about the change has leaked. [Insider $$$]
Almost half of children in England have seen harmful content online, according to a new survey. [The Guardian]
User safety should be a priority for social media companies, the new chair of UK regulator Ofcom has said. [The Guardian]
'Dissent' on social media in Turkey could be punishable with up to three years in jail if a new law is passed. [DailyDot]
Vietnam is preparing rules to limit which accounts can share news-related content on social media. [Reuters $$$]
Apple has removed Russia's largest social app, VK, from the App Store due to new UK sanctions. [Apple Insider]
VidCon is expanding to the US East Coast, with a convention in Baltimore next year. [Hollywood Reporter]
New features and tests:
YouTube has added a voiceover feature for Shorts. [@MattNavarra]
YouTube's shopping feature now lets you add products from multiple stores. [@jonah_manzano]
YouTube will now show personal stories of patients in search results for health-related queries. [TechCrunch]
YouTube Studio now lets you edit four channel profile. [@jonah_manzano]
YouTube is testing improved comment removal notifications, and updated video performance and hashtag insights. [Social Media Today]
YouTube is testing changes to its homepage design. [9to5Google]
Snapchat is working on the ability to choose an accent colour to use what capturing a snap. It will be a Snapchat+ feature. [@alex193a]
LinkedIn company pages have a bunch of new features, including post templates and link stickers. [Social Media Today]
LinkedIn has launched new ad features, including an offline conversions tool, document ads, and a a media library platform. [AdWeek $$$]
Tumblr has added new filters and hinted at looser moderation in the future. [The Verge]
Google now uses Reddit and Quora as sources when you ask open-ended questions. [TechCrunch]
Walmart is launching a number of virtual worlds on Roblox. [Bloomberg $$$]
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📖 Weekend reading
How Instagram food photography is evolving into something a little less 'perfect' as younger users get involved and it becomes more about sharing homemade creations than perfect dishes in a restaurant.
😳 And finally...
He don't want your stinkin' money. He'll make his own billion, thank you very much...
📅 Back next week...
…Alrighty. Let’s wrap things up and get the hell outta here!
Geekout debriefing. Done! ✅
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Right. Go on. Clear off. Enjoy the rest of your week. See you back here in seven days time.
This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant