It’s time to walk away from Elon
…seriously. Enough is enough.
If you think your week’s been rough, imagine how X CEO Linda Yaccarino’s feeling right now. Yikes!
But before we get into that…
So… Elon just shat all over his CEOs desperate attempts to convince brands X is safe to advertise on. 💩
Apple was also named in that report of brand ads spotted next to Nazi content. I can’t imagine Tim Cook will let Apple’s brand get bruised by its presence on X’s for very long.
The question is how much longer will it take for the penny to drop for Linda. Elon is never going to STFU on X. She will likely always be taking X two steps forwards, only for Elon’s posts to slide the platform three steps back.
Memo to Linda. How low can you go? P.S. Bookmark: linkedin.com
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🔥 GEEKOUT HOT 5
Geekout’s hottest picks of the week:
IBM Pulls Advertising From X After Report Finding They Ran Next To Nazi Content [GOOD LUCK, LINDA]
TikTok Says it’s Not The Algorithm, Teens Are Just Pro-Palestine [TRENDING TROUBLE]
YouTube Is Cracking Down On AI Clones Of Top Musicians [SOUNDS LIKE TROUBLE]
Meta, Snap, Bytedance Must Face Social Media Addiction Lawsuits In The U.S [LAWYERING-UP]
TikTok Has Rocketed As A Source Of News For Americans [BREAKING AMERICA]
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🚨 EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT…
Time to walk away from Elon
On the face of it, ‘Elon Musk says something horrible and advertisers on X get upset’ is hardly anything new. But this time it hits differently.
As a result, IBM pulled its ads from X. And news broke that the European Commission has also stopped advertising in the face of the risk of reputational damage.
At a time when concerns about antisemitism on social media are growing, Musk’s latest comments have forced X into damage control mode. But CEO Linda Yaccarino’s glossy PR-speak response to the furore doesn’t land well when it’s her CTO (and the person who can fire her!) who is the real problem.
Facebook co-founder and Asana CEO Dustin Moskovitz called for Elon Musk to resign - from not just X but all his companies.
Pretty much anyone else would have to resign. But money is power, and the world’s richest person can do what he wants. His internal narrative as the main character in a video game isn’t going to let him appear to lose.
If he wants to drag himself and his platform into a far-right hellscape then that’s his choice. But the rest of us have a choice too. We can simply walk away and leave him to it.
Threads: Does it really NEED hashtags and DMs?
What are the absolute basics that a thriving Twitter alternative should have?
For marketers, and for people wanting to discuss events, hashtags are an obvious need. So Threads’ announcement this week of a test in Australia of a new way of doing hashtags got a mixed reception.
It works like this: Type in a #hashtag, and it will convert into a link to a page of search results for that tag, but the hash symbol won’t be visible in the post. And you can only use one tag per post.
It’s clean and neat. But it doesn’t work if you want to tell people to use a specific hashtag in a campaign, or when discussing an event.
Hashtag haters say they are ugly and overused - factors that have led Elon Musk to consider removing them from X. Threads has come up with a good solution to these problems. But Chris ‘father of the Twitter hashtag’ Messina calls the Threads approach ‘Frankentags’:
Meanwhile, should a social app have DMs? After Threads boss Adam Mosseri said DMs are not coming to Threads, many users were up in arms.
As it turns out, it seems the long-term plan is for Threads to share the Instagram DM inbox. But with many users treating Instagram and Threads as separate platforms that they approach very differently, this might not be a good solution for all.
And would you want Instagram and Threads notifying you about a new DM?
Building social platforms: it’s not easy, folks.
✨ NEW & NOTEWORTHY
Everything else you need to know from the past seven days…
Meta / Facebook
Meta has started offering some EU users ad-free Facebook and Instagram
…but the feature also blocks you from running ads on the apps 🤦
Questions have been raised about whether Zuck’s cage fighting is a serious risk to the Meta
Facebook will now let third-party tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social add A/B testing tools for Reels and videos
Meta wants Google and Apple’s App Stores to handle online age verification
Instagram launched heap of new features and tools for Stories and Reels
Instagram is testing a bunch of features aimed at better private sharing
Instagram now lets you share posts and Reels with close friends only
Instagram testing ability to set the stories tray to only followers you follow back
Instagram may soon let you request a mention in someone else’s story
Instagram working on a Notes ‘Wonderwall’ feature
Instagram developing a ‘Your Space’ private sharing feature
WhatsApp / Threads / Messenger
WhatsApp is launching Discord-style voice chat for large groups
WhatsApp is working on letting you pick a username
You can finally quit Threads without deleting your Instagram account
Threads now lets you pin posts to the top of your profile
Threads has started testing hashtags without the actual hashtag
Messenger now has its own version of Instagram’s Notes feature
X has a pitifully low number of content moderators, according to EU figures
X is removing some of Elon’s critics from search results (apparently he thinks shadowbans are good now?)
A watchdog group wants the FTC to investigate X’s sneaky ads
X added a job search feature on the web
Elon Musk says X algorithm being tweaked to highlight smaller accounts
X failed to remove 98% of misinformation and hate fueled posts related to Israel / Hamas war, says CCDH
YouTube / Snapchat
A privacy expert is filing a criminal complaint against YouTube for its ad blocker detection scripts
YouTube loosened monetisation restrictions on depictions of breast feeding and ‘sensual dancing’
Snapchat will soon let users buy from Amazon in the app
Snapchat+ subscribers can now see when a friend half-swipes into chat with the new feature called Peek a Peek.
TikTok is removing videos promoting Osama Bin Laden’s ‘Letter to America’
…but they’re weren’t as ‘viral’ as they might have seemed
TikTok has launchd an in-app mobile effects editor - no need to download a separate tool anymore
TikTok has a problem with misleading TikTok Shop videos promoting knockoffs
Jewish celebrities confronted TikTok executives in private call about pro-palestine content
TikTok’s newest feature lets you save songs directly to your Spotify, Apple Music playlists
Bytedance was spotted testing content paywalls on creator videos in TikTok sister app Douyin
Google / Bluesky / Pinterest
Social media creators’ posts and profiles will soon get more visibility in Google search results
Google Maps is becoming more like a social network with emoji reactions and sharable lists
Bluesky has hit 2 million users and will launch a proper web interface this month
Pinterest has introduced an in-app ‘Shuffles’ style collage feature
The Conservative Party in the UK raised eyebrows this week by treating a government cabinet reshuffle like football clubs announce new players on transfer deadline day.
Love it or hate it, it got the message across and drove engagement.
Looks like McDonald’s is going to be looking for a new social media director. Plenty of ambitious social media managers will be lovin’ that news (sorry not sorry).
💬 YOU CAN QUOTE ME ON THAT
When I’m quoted in the news, you’ll find it here:
I spoke to the Press Association about the Tory Party's efforts to boost social media engagement with its cabinet reshuffle posts:
I spoke to The Drum about growing concerns advertisers hold about brand safety on X
🙊 WHAT DID YOU SAY?!
“Twitter was, and now I guess X sort of is, in a way, the default public square for the world. And if it’s being overrun by trolls and lunatics, it’s not good for any of us.”
– Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder, speaking to CNBC
👀 MY FAV READS
This is an interesting look at how memes can quickly become too complex for A.I. to understand. If you want to beat Skynet, put your plans in a meme…
🤔 REMEMBER WHEN…?
Inspired by last week’s talk about how social media is changing, I asked my Threads followers to take a trip down memory lane…
Take a look through the responses, and add your own if you can…
“Poverty, fentanyl, and lack of public funding mean morgues are overloaded with unidentified bodies. TikTok and Facebook pages are filling the gap—with A.I. proving a powerful and controversial new tool.” 😳
Social media features heading for the graveyard:
Instagram Guides are being guided to the exit….
Amazon saw TikTok as a potential partner, but the social app went its own way with TikTok Shop.
Now as Amazon partners with Meta and Snap for social shopping features, there’s a very interesting rivalry underway….
🤖 SOCIAL A.I.
All the ways A.I. is transforming social media:
📊 SOCIAL STATS
The number of monthly active users WhatsApp’s Channels feature has clocked up in its first seven weeks
TikTok is on the rise as a news source in the US, according to Pew:
MORE META NEWS
Meta and Google could owe US news publishers $14 billion a year under planned law, research estimates. [Press Gazette]
US senators want documents from Meta documents over platforms' alleged mental and physical harms. [Reuters $$$]
Meta’s decision to lower the age limit for the Quest was controversial internally. [The Information $$$]
Meta has launched a ‘Quest For Business’ programme from $15 per month. [Upload VR]
Meta wants Google’s and Apple’s app stores to handle online age verification. [The Verge]
Meta and Christian Louboutin have filed a joint lawsuit against a counterfeiter. [Meta Newsroom]
Meta’s Oversight Board will review handling of video showing unveiled woman in Iran. [Reuters $$$]
MediaTek has partnered with Meta to develop chips for AR smart glasses. [9to5Google]
Meta's $130 Elite battery strap for Quest 3 is facing major reliability issues. [Road to VR]
Fitness app Supernatural is Meta Quest’s breakout hit among older audiences. [The Information $$$]
Instagram has sent creators a 10-day Threads posting challenge. [@MattNavarra]
Insights to give you an edge at work:
New features and tests:
Instagram has updated the Reels composer to provide more creation options. [Social Media Today]
Instagram has added a feature called Shared Lists in story mode. [@jonahmanzano]
Instagram is rolling out new achievement awards for creator milestones. [Social Media Today]
Instagram has added an option to tag a channel while creating a post. [@jonahmanzano]
Instagram now lets you create broadcast channels on desktop. [@theahmedghanem]
Instagram is testing redesigned stickers for Stories. [@ihammod_oh]
Instagram is experimenting with a redesigned ‘Add Yours’ sticker. [@theahmedghanem]
Instagram is testing a larger post preview within the post creation sheet. [@theahmedghanem]
Instagram is testing a new grid preview feature. [@theahmedghanem]
…and the ability to add "hype” to Stories. [@alex193a]
Instagram is working on letting Samsung Galaxy S24 users add the shortcut for the Instagram Camera to the lock screen. [@alex193a]
WhatsApp is rolling out a marketing messages feature to some beta testers. [WABetaInfo]
WhatsApp now lets you send media files as documents directly from the Photos app on iOS. [@theahmedghanem]
You can now finalise a DocuSign signing on WhatsApp. [TechRadar]
WhatsApp backups will soon count against Google storage limits. [9to5Google]
The rest: Creator Studio / Adtech / Quest and more:
MORE X NEWS
X is defending a US university student in trouble over posts on the platform. [Financial Times $$$]
X has lost a bid to scrap the FTC Privacy Order on the company. [Wall Street Journal $$$]
Adult content creators are seeing an influx of "sensitive content" labels on X, which could be tied to the site's newly implemented sensitivity settings for advertisers. [404 Media]
EU faces a privacy complaint over CSAM microtargeting ads it ran on X. [TechCrunch]
MORE TIKTOK NEWS
Advertisers are investing in TikTok Shops despite mostly limited results. [AdWeek $$$]
TikTok is becoming more aggressive with its comms. [Axios]
TikTok has been banned in Nepal for ‘disrupting social harmony’. [BBC News]
Martin Scorsese says his viral TikToks were a ‘happy accident’. [Variety]
TikTok’s A.I. studio photo filter is lightening skin and making people look thinner. [Daily Dot]
TikTok in talks with Indonesian e-commerce firms about partnerships following a recent law that banned social platforms from running online stores. [Reuters $$$]
TikTok has published the "Facts" about how it tracks you to serve you personalised ads. [TikTok Newsroom]
TikTok has reorganised its content operations after the departure of chief operating officer V Pappas. [The Information $$$]
ByteDance revenue surged to $29 billion in its latest quarterly earnings report. [The Information $$$]
TikTok has announced ‘LIVE Fest’ to highlight top streaming talent in the app. [Social Media Today]
Insights to give you an edge at work:
TikTok has announced a new holiday marketing webinar for SMBs. [Social Media Today]
New features and tests:
💥 EVEN MORE SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS & UPDATES
Scientists have used A.I. chatbots to figure out how to make social media less toxic. [Business Insider]
Snap boss Evan Spiegel is pushing an Elon-style ‘hardcore’ work culture. [The Information $$$]
The FTC is cracking down on paid dietitian influencer posts in the US. [Washington Post $$$]
A new series is premiering this week on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. [Wired $$$]
Cartel-backed networks exploit Snapchat and WhatsApp for human trafficking. [Bloomberg $$$]
Truth Social has lost $73 million since launch, a new filing shows. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Israel has asked Meta and TikTok to remove 8,000 posts related to the war against Hamas. [Forbes]
The EU has told Meta and Snap to detail new child protection measures by 1 December. [Reuters $$$]
Insights to give you an edge at work:
How brands can successfully engage Gen-Z in the metaverse
New features and tests:
YouTube has rolled out high bitrate 1080p to all Premium subscribers. [Engadget]
YouTube has introduced an updated copyright claims process to help creators avoid violations. [Social Media Today]
Snapchat is testing a ‘Friends & Family’ subscription plan. [Android Authority]
Telegram is working on a version of its app for Apple’s Vision Pro headset. [9to5Mac]
Twitch has launched a Privacy Center to educate users about their personal data. [TechCrunch]
📰 WEEKEND READS
😳 AND FINALLY…
“'Everyone Knows That' is a short, low-quality snippet of what sounds like a 1980s pop tune — and people are obsessed with finding the rest.”
📅 BACK NEXT WEEK…
… And that’s all folks. You social media debriefing for this week is done ✅
I’m heading off to buy a South Africa rugby shirt and get nervous about meeting (Michelle) Pheiffer 😍.
One day I will explain what these cryptic random end notes, that most of you probably never read, actually mean. 😁
p.s. This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant