Apple vs Meta: The fight is finally ON!
…and Meta’s Vision problems are just getting started
Welcome to this week’s edition of Geekout.
Switch your device into ‘Do not disturb’ mode. Grab a coffee. Get comfy.
It’s been another wild week!
First up… You’re not imagining it. Instagram SUPERSIZED something.
Meta’s rival Twitter app’s name got leaked. It’s shockingly unoriginal.
Mark Zuckerberg revealed his (true?) feelings about Apple’s Vision Pro.
…But is he bluffing?
BTW… Thank you for all your get well soon messages and emails. I'm on the mend, and nearly back to full strength. I’m going to need to be. My work diary for June is insane!
In other news, Geekout has got a new sponsor!
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Okay… Shall we get into it? Here are the hottest headlines in social this week:
🔥 GEEKOUT HOT 5
Apple’s Vision Pro Device Fails to Impress Mark Zuckerberg [BLUFFING]
Major Reddit Communities Threaten To Go Dark in API Policy Backlash [PROTESTING]
Instagram Algorithm Boosts ‘Vast Paedophile Network’, Say Researchers [DISTURBING]
Social Media Platforms Roll Back Misinformation Measures Ahead of 2024 Elections [CONCERNING]
Meta Plans to Add Generative AI to All of Its Products [INNOVATING]
You know the drill… I spotted a LONG list of new features and platform updates in the past seven days. But these are the bits and pieces most worthy of your attention:
Meta / Instagram / WhatsApp
Meta is testing Reels in Quest VR (you can’t escape them) … Instagram may soon let you limit your Reels to close friends only … Instagram is testing a new ‘Community’ tab for Reels … WhatsApp is testing a new HD image quality upload feature (but HD mode still compresses images a little) … And WhatsApp also launched a new ‘Security hub’.
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Brands are using Twitter’s tools to keep their ads away from Elon Musk’s tweets (wise) … This Twitter product manager wants to hear your ideas for longform content on the platform … Twitter is testing new restrictions on who you can DM in the app (can’t decide if this is going to make things better or worse) … Twitter increased the edit tweet window to 1 hour for Twitter Blue subscribers … Twitter is working on letting you hide your Likes tab on your profile.
U.S. government has extended its TikTok ban to contractors … TikTok launched a 30 days of gaming activity (and new CapCut templates) … TikTok added new free courses to its TikTok Academy learning resource … TikTok rolled out its video paywall feature ‘Series’ to more creators … And TikTok is testing text-only posts.
Snapchat / LinkedIn
Snapchat+ subscribers got a new customise map appearance feature … LinkedIn launched its new DM inbox for Company Pages (a lot of Page admins will be happy about this one) … Linkedin also announced new video ad options + added audience insights to its API.
🔊 And finally… The true story behind TikTok’s famous sonic logo… watch this video to see (and hear) what I mean 👇
The story and meaning behind TikTok's famous 'sonic' audio logo 🔊 newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/moving-t…
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra)
Jun 8, 2023
DID YOU SEE… 👀
📱 APPS: The Best + Worst Social Media Apps of 2023, so far [VIEW APPS]
💀 MEMES: The Most Popular Memes in 2023, so far [ALL THE MEMES]
🤳🏻 PRO-TIPS: 10 Top BeReal Tips + Tricks [LEARN MORE]
🛠️ TOOL: Instagram Engagement Calculator [ACCESS FREE TOOL]
🔮 PREDICTIONS: The Future of Social Media, According to Latest Research [REVEAL PREDICTIONS]
…Let’s keep you scrolling… ✨
Up Next: Geekout analysis of the week’s biggest stories generating the most headlines. 👇
🚨 Everyone's talking about...
After years of speculation, Apple finally revealed its ‘Vision’ of the future this week as it showed off its upcoming Vision Pro headset.
A typically slick Apple presentation showed people browsing menus floating in front of them, taking video calls, watching movies and more. The headset impressed many of the journalists and influencers who tried it, and there’s no doubt Apple has pushed the field of mixed reality forward here.
There’s a lot we still don’t know, like how well it handles full VR and when it will be available outside the US. The US launch itself is still over half a year away. But the big question from a social media perspective is does any of this matter at all?
Meta’s Horizon Worlds has been a clear flop, showing that headset-based AR and VR have a long way to go before they become an important part of the social landscape.
Mark Zuckerberg addressed the Vision Pro at a Meta all-hands meeting yesterday.
He reportedly told staff that Apple hadn’t presented any great tech breakthroughs, and showed a vision of the future of computing where everyone was sitting on a sofa on their own.
“I mean, that could be the vision of the future of computing, but like, it’s not the one that I want,” Zuckerberg reportedly said.
While some of this could be bluster to rally the troops, it’s hard to see how Meta loses here. It offers good headsets far cheaper than Apple’s $3,499 Vision Pro today, not next year.
If Apple has inspired you to check out what the fuss is about, you’re far more likely to be able to afford a Quest headset for the time being.
Quest could end up being Android to Apple visionOS’s iOS. And there will be nothing to stop Meta building software for Apple’s platform eventually, based on years of AR and VR expertise.
Whatever the case, it seems we’re long way from either platform delivering compelling social media experiences to the masses.
There’s nothing like a big protest among Reddit users to show that something serious is going down. This time though, the problem is coming from inside the house.
As the Verge explained:
Yes, the storm over Reddit pricing API access so high that some developers can’t afford to build Reddit apps anymore has caused a storm this week.
That’s especially true after the developer of popular Reddit client Apollo (namechecked in the Apple keynote this week, no less) announced the app will shut down at the end of this month.
Reddit has defended its new policy to charge developers for API access, arguing that it costs the company a lot of money to support these third-party apps and essentially accused Apollo of being poorly coded.
Reddit also clarified that API access will still be free for moderator tools, bots, and accessibility tools. But that hasn’t seemed to dampen the rage.
Reddit’s CEO will hold an AMA on the changes today in attempt to quell the disquiet.
But with the company laying off 5% of its workforce and reducing its hiring plans, it’s hard not to see the new API changes as a way to either cut costs or even make money from third-party developers in a tough time for the ad market.
Looking at how Elon Musk can be a jerk to the Twitter ecosystem and get away with it, you could argue other tech CEOs have been emboldened to take tougher action than they might otherwise have tried.
We’ve not had a serious Meta scandal in a long while, but this week brought disturbing news.
Instagram’s algorithms are good at connecting people with similar niche interests, but those niches, horrifyingly, have included paedophiles who connected through features like explicit hashtags.
What’s more, the activity was discovered not by the company itself but by a tiny group of university researchers.
“That a team of three academics with limited access could find such a huge network should set off alarms at Meta… I hope the company reinvests in human investigators,” former Meta security chief Alex Stamos told the Wall Street Journal.
Meta says it has launched a task force to address the problem, but the fact it happened at all suggests real failings at the company.
Oh, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Twitter has its own CSAM problems.
The news came in the week YouTube decided to stop policing US election denial and Instagram allowed conspiracy theorist Robert F Kennedy back on its platform.
This latest scandal shows how skimping on platform integrity can go wrong. Here’s hoping it doesn’t happen again.
All of the ways A.I. is transforming social media:
Instagram is getting ready to go big on chatbots…
#Instagram is working on bringing AI Agents (Bots 🤖) to your chats for a more fun and engaging experience 👀
ℹ️ AI Agents will be able to answer questions and give advice.
You'll be able to choose from 30 different personalities.
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a)
Jun 5, 2023
TikTok is testing an A.I.-powered 'Script Generator' that creates video scripts and suggested visuals
LinkedIn is the latest social network to offer an A.I.-powered tool for generating ad copy
LinkedIn is experimenting with an A.I. assistant for InMails
Instagram is working on A.I. stickers
…and so is Messenger
ByteDance is testing its own ChatGPT-style chatbot
WordPress Jetpack can now write blog posts for you
😆 LOL tweets
Stop worrying about whether generative A.I. will take your job and instead enjoy what it does to memes…
Just tried out @Adobe#Photoshop's new #GenerativeAI Fill on my all-time favorite memes - extended the POV to see what's beyond the frames.
Enjoy the thread 🧵 (The white frame represents the original size of the meme.)
— ST3U ⚡️🍪🦇 (@StepnEurope)
May 30, 2023
📊 Trending memes
Apple’s Vision Pro became instant meme fodder this week.
POV: the year is 2035 and HR is about to fire you twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
— gaut (@0xgaut)
Jun 5, 2023
The apple vision pro saved our relationship
— mihir (@__mihir)
Jun 5, 2023
📈 Gone viral
Inter Miami’s social media manager will have been loving life this week…
🪧 Brand social
Okay, these are offline campaigns, but they stirred up plenty of chatter on social for the brands this week.
I enjoyed McDonald’s and Burger King’s ChatGPT battle. They managed to bring the novelty of new tech into a campaign in a clear, fun, and engaging way.
Billionaire tech investor Marc Andreessen spoke up about A.I. this week, with an optimistic message to counter all of the negativity out there.
You could say he’s oversimplifying and talking down the potential dangers as he looks to make a lot of money from investing in A.I. startups, but he still has a perspective worth understanding.
Tap through for the full thread…
Why AI Will Save The World
By Marc Andreessen
The era of Artificial Intelligence is here, and boy are people freaking out.
Fortunately, I am here to bring the good news: AI will not destroy the world, and in fact may save it.
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca)
Jun 6, 2023
TikTok’s music boss on the platform’s growing role in the music industry
📺 Must watch
Lex Friedman’s interview with Zuck is well worth digging into. He talks about Twitter, Vision Pro, A.I…. and even Meta’s new rival Twitter app.
Oxfam found itself in trouble this week as its attempt at supporting trans people ended up upsetting the ‘gender critical’ movement.
Once again we’re seeing how supporting minority groups–until very recently a straightforward win for brands–is becoming more tricky as online discourse stokes toxicity.
Some weird stuff from the world of online dating this week….
“On TikTok, the term ‘Beige Flag’ is being used to describe romantic partners’ weird habits that are less than a deal breaker, but not exactly a plus, either.”
Marketers will be hoping this feature gets removed before iOS 17 officially arrives later this year. But given Apple’s continuing emphasis on user privacy, that seems unlikely.
😮 What did you say?!
Ev Williams has joined fellow Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone in sharing how unhappy they are with the way Musk has been running the company.
💡 New feature spotlight
WhatsApp has officially started rolling out its Channels feature, designed for broadcast messages.
📊 Stat of the week
Linda Yaccarino has a big hole to fill…
Twitter’s U.S. Ad Sales Plunge 59% as Woes Continue
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra)
Jun 5, 2023
📈 Charts of the week
An interesting insight here…
Meta's Twitter rival could be called Threads, as new screenshots have emerged. [The Verge]
Meta has been urged by the EU to label A.I.- generated content. [The Guardian]
Justin Trudeau has accused Meta of 'bullying tactics' against Canada’s news bill. [Reuters $$$]
UK mental health charities handed sensitive data to Facebook for targeted ads, it has emerged. [The Guardian]
Meta Verified has launched in India. Meta has confirmed it will honour ‘legacy’ checkmarks. [TechCrunch]
Meta’s Oversight Board says the company’s rules are (slowly) changing for the better. [Engadget]
Meta has been ordered to offer mental health care to moderators in Kenya. [The Guardian]
Meta will introduce a new accounts centre to help users decide whether to use Facebook and Instagram separately or via a merged account, after talks with German authorities. [Reuters $$$]
A judge has thrown out Washington, DC’s privacy lawsuit against Meta. [The Verge]
Instagram banned, and then unbanned, Meta critic group ‘The Real Facebook Oversight Board’ - but it won’t say why. [Gizmodo]
New features and tests:
Instagram is testing gamified tallies for weekly live videos. [@jonah_manzano]
Instagram has been spotted offering new Reels features including an automatic stop option and the ability to hide videos. [@oncescuradu]
Instagram is testing a ‘Sequence’ feature for Reels. [@oncescuradu]
A super-sized Stories selector has beens spotted in Instagram again. [@MattNavarra]
Instagram is testing a ‘Community’ feature for Reels. [@hammodoh1]
Instagram has been spotted showing a Drafts box on the profile dashboard. [@KishanuK]
Instagram can now help you restore your account if you lost your 2FA. [@ahmedghanem]
Instagram will restrict the reactions you can use when responding to messages in broadcast channels. [@alex193a]
Instagram has a new Story uploading animation on iOS. [@MattNavarra]
WhatsApp has launched a new Security hub to share information about its approach to safety and privacy. [@WhatsApp]
WhatsApp is rolling out the ability to mention groups within the community groups. [WABetaInfo]
WhatsApp is testing a redesigned emoji keyboard. [WABetaInfo]
WhatsApp has added an ‘HD’ image quality upload feature for some iOS beta users. [@MattNavarra]
The rest: Creator Studio/adtech/Quest and more:
Meta is testing Reels in VR on Quest. [The Verge]
Could Twitter be renamed X? Elon Musk and Twitter staff are increasingly referencing ‘X’ so.. maybe. [Social Media Today]
Twitter’s Trust & Safety team were reportedly told not to enforce the company’s ad policy unless ads were a scam or illegal, which could be the reason for recent resignations. [@ZoeSchiffer]
…the resignations have led to fresh brand safety worries. [CNBC]
…and Elon Musk has been accused of throwing staff under the bus to appease right-wing Twitter users. [Mashable]
Twitter will allow creators to take paying subscribers’ email addresses with them to other platforms, Elon Musk claims. [@elonmusk]
Twitter has hired senior NBCUniversal executive Joe Benarroch's new role at Twitter will focus on business operations. [BBC News]
Twitter removed an AOC parody account after the real AOC warned her followers about it. The account was previously banned and then reinstated after Elon Musk took over. [Forbes $$$]
Twitter wants more UK users to join Community Notes. [@MattNavarra]
New features and tests:
Twitter is working on new a live video feature. [Insider $$$]
Twitter has been spotted testing the ability to edit tweets up to one hour after tweet - double the previous limit. [@MattNavarra]
The Highlights features is now showing up in the Twitter app as well as on the web. [@jonah_manzano]
Twitter appears to be working on recruitment-related features like a ‘jobs list’. [@wongmjane]
Twitter’s work-in-progress ‘private likes’ feature will also hide your likes from the API. [@nima_owji]
Twitter could soon limit spammy DM tactics to Blue subscribers. [@alex193a]
TikTok wants to create a $20 billion business out of TikTok Shop. [Bloomberg $$$]
Older TikTok creators are in demand by brands. [New York Times $$$]
ByteDance has been accused of helping China spy on Hong Kong activists. [BBC News]
The US government's TikTok ban has been extended to include contractors. [The Register]
TikTok has launched ‘30 Days of #GamingonTikTok’ to “celebrate the global gaming community”. [TikTok newsroom]
Insights to give you an edge at work:
TikTok has added new courses to its ‘TikTok Academy’ learning resource. [Social Media Today]
New features and tests:
TikTok has rolled out its Series feature to more creators. [TikTok newsroom]
TikTok now offers a feature to connect brands and creators, called Open Applications. [Social Media Today]
TikTok now defaults to an ‘Upload’ mode when creating a new post. [@MattNavarra]
TikTok is testing a text-only post option. [@MattNavarra]
TikTok has switched on faster scroll speed by default. [@MattNavarra]
TikTok has added new ad goals. [@ahmedghanem]
💥 More social media news and updates
YouTube wants Shorts creators to cross-promote each other. [Social Media Today]
Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter face a complaint over their handling of crypto ads. [Reuters $$$]
At least 40 US school districts are suing social media companies over their effect students’ health. [Social Media Today]
Louisiana has passed a bill banning kids from creating social media accounts without parental consent. [The Verge]
An army of fake social media accounts defend the UAE’s presidency of a UN climate summit. [The Guardian]
Snapchat’s new My AI Snaps feature won’t respond if you send it nudes. [TechCrunch]
Snapchat now has 15 million monthly active users in Germany. [Snap Newsroom]
Insights to give you an edge at work:
LinkedIn has published a new report on the state of B2B marketing. [Social Media Today]
New features and tests:
LinkedIn has launched a DMs inbox for company pages. [Social Media Today]
LinkedIn has added new video ad options and expanded access to Conversation and Thought Leader ads. [Social Media Today]
Snapchat is rolling out dark mode for paying subscribers on Android. [@hahahammad_]
Snapchat has added map customisation for Plus subscribers. [@ahmedghanem]
Pinterest has launched the next stage of its Data Clean Rooms trial with Wayfair. [Social Media Today]
📖 Weekend reading
Bluesky’s growing pains strain its relationship with Black users
😳 And finally...
Generative A.I. might feel like something out of Black Mirror, but the show’s creator says it’s not good at actually writing an episode.
📅 Back next week...
Welcome to the very end bit of Geekout!
Come here often? On second thoughts, don’t answer that.
Time for me to go pack for my trip to Newcastle to speak at Atomicon next week. If you’re going too, come say hi 👋
This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant
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