Elon’s biggest fight is against himself

…and Zuck’s having none of it

Hello, geeks…

Grab yourself a coffee. Get comfy.

I’m going to bring you up to speed on everything new and noteworthy on the socials this week.

To kick things off… The social media manager for Mark Zuckerberg had a heart-stopping moment (we’ve all been there!). 😆

Here’s why everyone named Jack tried to make a new Instagram account last night

And my week was wild…

I was invited into 10 Downing Street to meet the team behind the UK Government’s most famous social media accounts.

It’s been 10 years since I last stepped into the PM’s house. It hasn’t changed much, but I look a little... different (older!). 😬

Want to know what I was doing there? Or what I discussed with the Downing Street social team? Check out this LinkedIn post and ask a question in the comments?

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Right, you know the drill. Let’s get into it. First up… The top stories making headlines this week:


  1. Zuck Pulls Plug On Fight Accusing Musk Of Not Taking It Seriously [FIGHT OFF]

  2. Tweetdeck No Longer Free As X Locks It Behind Paid Subscription [WELL THIS SUCKS]

  3. YouTube Cracks Down On Videos Promoting Sketchy Cancer Cures [BAD MEDICINE]

  4. Twitter (X) Caught Throttling Links to News Sites and Rival Platforms [FREE SPEECH MY ARSE]

  5. NYC Bans TikTok On All City-Owned Devices [TIKTOK STOP]

And here’s everything else you’ll want to know about this week:


Instagram added a new social channels feature for creators to chat with fans… Instagram now allows collabs of up to four accounts and lets you add music to carousels… Instagram looks close to launching its A.I. chatbots… Instagram was spotted trying out a fun new ‘Like’ animation… You can now disable HDR video playback.. Instagram is testing audio clips for Notes… And Instagram appears to have rolled out download Reels feature to more users.

Threads / WhatsApp / Meta

Threads added a ‘Reposts’ feed on profiles… Meanwhile, Threads engagement continues to slide with usage down 79% after a month… Threads may soon add voice posts (but they’re only 10-seconds long for now)… WhatsApp is adding support for HD photos, with HD video promised to follow (but images still suffer light compression)… Meta wants to take on OpenAI with free code-generating software


  • Real-time social media news alerts direct from Matt Navarra

  • VIP chat channels with the world’s best social media managers

  • Exclusive access to beta invites to hot new social platforms

JOIN GEEKOUT PRO today to get 10% OFF your membership.

Twitter (‘X’)

X was caught displaying brands’ ads next to pro-Nazi content (those new brand safety tools are working great) … X is axing Promoted Accounts ads even though they were a $100m business… X looks close to launching proper ID verification for checkmarks… X started using x.com URLs for tweets (sorry, posts)… X is working on a handy timestamp tagging feature when you share video, plus a quicker video download option… And X Premium subscribers got a new ‘Highlights’ tab.

TikTok / YouTube / Tumblr / Telegram

ByteDance is trying to reignite Lemon8 with a new integration with TikTok (if you even remember what Lemon8 is)… YouTube is getting even tougher on ad blockers… Tumblr’s interface got a redesign (and it looks a lot like Twitter)… Telegram rolled its own version on Stories (with an edit button twist).


  • ALGORITHMS I: How YouTube Short’s Algo Actually Works In 2023 [DISCOVER]

  • ⚡️ ALGORITHMS II: YouTube Algorithm Insights From YT’s Creator Liaison [LEARN]

  • 📱 PRO TIPS I: 5 TikTok SEO Tricks to Boost Your Video Reach [REVEAL TRICKS]

  • 📊 PRO TIPS II: 25 Social Media KPIs You Should Be Tracking In 2023 [REVEAL KPIs]

  • 🤖 STATS: 74 AI Stats To Help Marketers Make Plans [VIEW STATS]

– Matt

🚨 Everyone's talking about...

It finally happened. TweetDeck (sorry, “X Pro”) became part of Twitter (sorry, X)’s premium subscription this week, and the hearts of social media managers, journalists, and information junkies around the world were broken.

It’s not that TweetDeck shouldn’t be a paid-for product. Twitter was working on folding it into Blue before Elon Musk took over, and there are many people for whom it’s been so important to their jobs that they’d have happily paid in the past.

It’s more that many of the people who used TweetDeck to keep on top of all the news and discussions they cared about on Twitter simple don’t want to pay Musk for it.

And who can blame them? The information ecosystem around X continues to deteriorate as news makers and breakers who were once Twitter power users drift away to be replaced by A.I.-obsessed hustle-bros and Elon fanatics. This week figures showed how the quality of climate-related discussion is being harmed on the platform, for example.

And X now sorts your profile's posts by number of likes for logged-out users. This makes quickly checking a profile for newsworthy content that little bit harder, while resurfacing ancient memes and jokes that did well often years ago but are irrelevant today.

This week X was caught seemingly slowing down links to sites and platforms Musk dislikes, such as the New York Times, Threads, and Bluesky (the delay was reversed after it was spotted). Meanwhile, podcaster, academic and Musk critic Scott Galloway claimed his account has been suspended ever since he turned down an invitation to meet Musk.

Twitter Blue (sorry, “X Premium”) continues to struggle. New research indicates that out of 260 million users only around 0.3% are paying for the subscription.

One good thing: X Pro is easier to access than TweetDeck ever was, indicating X wants to make more of the app. But the clear lack of enthusiasm from former TweetDeck addicts to stump up the cash to maintain access speaks volumes about X’s current trajectory.

The news that a company in Kenya says it regrets taking on content moderation work for Meta due to the traumatic toll it has had on staff, came in the same week that OpenAI came up with a possible solution:

GPT-4 could replace tens of thousands of human moderators while being nearly as accurate and more consistent, claims OpenAI. If that’s true, the most toxic and mentally taxing tasks in tech could be outsourced to machines.

In a blog post, OpenAI claims that it has already been using GPT-4 for developing and refining its own content policies, labeling content, and making decisions. “I want to see more people operating their trust and safety, and moderation [in] this way,” OpenAI head of safety systems Lilian Weng told Semafor. “This is a really good step forward in how we use AI to solve real world issues in a way that’s beneficial to society.”

– Simon Hurtz, The Verge

Letting software take the strain of dealing with the seriously disturbing content no human should ever have to see is certainly an appealing prospect.

But before we get too excited, it’s worth bearing in mind what former Twitter trust and safety chief Yoel Roth told Casey Newton this week.

Questions that need answering, Roth said, include: can A.I. adapt to nuanced rules developed by individual companies; can it show how it complies with increasingly strict laws and rules around the world; can it deal with coded speech and reclaimed slang where context is everything, and does it work across all languages and cultural contexts beyond the USA?

An optimist will say ‘we’ll get there’ on all those points, but for now it’s likely that humans are going to be dealing with at least some moderation for a long time yet.

I know, I know… I said we wouldn’t waste much time talking about the ridiculous Musk vs Zuck fight, but I think we can declare a winner without a punch or kick even being thrown.

You’ll remember that as last week’s Geekout went out, Musk was claiming to have secured a venue in Italy for the fight (which turned out to be true). But it was news to Mark Zuckerberg (and his social team).

Before the weekend, Zuck had lost his patience and called the fight off.

“I think we can all agree Elon isn’t serious and it’s time to move on” is an epic line. It came after Elon had texted Zuck about coming over for a practice fight at his house.

Elon wasn’t willing to give up just yet, and started talking about livestreaming himself showing up at Zuck’s house to pressure him into a fight.

But was all nonsense. Zuck wasn’t even at home and Elon’s private jet data suggested he wasn’t even in California when he claimed he’d be roaming the streets of Palo Alto in a Tesla looking for Zuck.

Zuck’s bored, we’re all bored. Hopefully now Elon is too. As we approach the end of the summer silly season where dumb news stories have more room to breathe, let’s hope we hear nothing about this dumb cage match ever again.

😆 LOL tweets

Tap through to play the video: this is spot on 👇


📈 Gone viral

Selena Gomez wrapped in a blanket isn’t the most obvious meme, but you can never tell quite what will attract the internet’s attention.

Check out some of the funniest takes on this meme, shared around the web this week, including this one:

💬 You can quote me on that

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

I gave my thoughts to The Drum about Linda Yaccarino’s progress with advertisers at X:


📺 Worth watching

I’ve been doing the round popping up on a bunch of podcasts this week. Including this one, which was fun to record 👇


  • I guested on the latest edition of Tech Heads, where we discussed Meta vs. X and the changing face of Instagram. Give it a watch.

👀 Must-read

Following on from all the recent chatter about ‘unhinged social media managers’, it’s worth asking: why are brands obsessed with being funny?

This article has some ideas:

…and while we’re on the subject:

⚒️ New tools

Threads has an excellent panorama feature built into its photo carousel, and this neat app makes it easier to set your photos up for it:



No, Snapchat’s My AI chatbot is not coming to life in the grumpiest way possible.

But it did freak users out this week when it posted a weird Story to its profile and then stopped responding.

🪲 Bugging out

Keeping an eye on social media glitches:

Is Instagram a bit too zoom-happy when you shoot a video for a Story? It’s a bug, but there is a workaround…


Social media features heading for the graveyard:

If you used to pay for account visibility on Twitter/X with Promoted Accounts ads, well - the format has been axed.

It was apparently a $100 million per year business in itself, but Elon gonna Elon.

🤖 A.I.-mazing

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

This is worth knowing about: Adobe has launched new generative AI features for Adobe Express.

They use Adobe’s Firefly generative A.I. to create custom images and text effects for your social media marketing image designs.

🧵 Top threads (no, not that Threads)

This is a useful thread to help you make the most of X. As ever, your mileage may vary, and algorithm code often only shows part of the picture of how things play out in real life.

(There’s a community note attached to the first tweet, with a link to another thread with similar info, too).


📊 Social stats

📈 Charted

More Meta News

  • Meta has shared more details about its Connect 2023 VR showcase event, taking place on 27 September. [Social Media Today]

  • The UK Government is targeting UK minorities with social media ads despite a Facebook ban on such targeting. [The Guardian]

  • Wall Street banks are looking to A.I. for a solution to the compliance nightmare of bankers using encrypted apps like WhatsApp to discuss business in secret. [The Information $$$]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Instagram has shared a new explainer infographic about key ad metrics. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:


  • Instagram now lets creators add links to up to five shops on their profile., [@jonah_manzano]

  • Instagram now offers song lyrics in Reels in more regions. [Social Media Today]

  • Instagram now sends notifications about new threads from accounts you follow. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Instagram appears to be expanding Reels downloads outside the US. [@YasserM86]

  • Instagram is rolling out its audience privacy feature for posts to more users. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Instagram now lets you toggle 'Disable HDR video playback' under Media Quality settings. [@jonah_manzano]

  • Instagram has added an option to view your cross-posted Reels directly on Facebook. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Instagram has redesigned the media album selection page for Reels. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Instagram trimmed the types of Stories you can create. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Instagram is testing audio clips for Notes. [Social Media Today]

  • Instagram is testing a new ad format for Reels ads. It’s a variation of the Multi-Advertiser display. [Social Media Today]

  • Instagram is still working on ‘Highlight Updates’, which is now called ‘Profile Updates Hub’. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram continues to work on a ‘Live Notes’ feature. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram is working on the ability to share notes with group members. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram is still working on auto-translation for broadcast channels [@alex193a]

  • Instagram continues to work on a redesigned stickers tray. [@alex193a]


  • Threads has added a ‘reposts’ feed to profiles. [The Verge]


  • WhatsApp is testing message forwarding for Communities. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp wants to make it easier to add people to voice calls. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp has renamed ‘Starring’ messages to ‘Keep’ing them. [@ahmedghanem]

  • WhatsApp has added a ‘Request Report’ option for channels. [@ahmedghanem]

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

More X News

  • X has asked a Nashville court to dismiss $250m+ music piracy lawsuit. [TorrentFreak]

New features and tests:

  • X has switched to a scratchy new default iOS app icon. [Fast Company]

  • X has been spotted displaying an overlay of a link’s domain on its preview image, on iOS. [@ahmedghanem]

  • X is working on letting free verified organisations upgrade to the paid plan. [@nima_owji]

  • X could soon add a ‘Pin Community’ option. [@alex193a]

  • X has been testing a new full-screen interface. [@ahemedghanem]

  • X is working on adding an account analytics shortcut to the side menu on the mobile app. [@alex193a]

  • X has added a Highlights tab to the profiles of paying users. [TechCrunch]

More TikTok News

Insights to give you an edge at work:

New features and tests:

  • TikTok has been spotted having removed the ‘Nearby’ feed. [@ahmedghanem]

  • TikTok has launched a new anti-scam information hub for Singaporean users. [Social Media Today]

💥 More social media news and updates

  • Survivors of a mass shooting in Buffalo, NY are suing YouTube and Reddit. [Axios]

  • YouTube is taking down videos promoting ‘harmful or ineffective’ cancer cures. [The Verge]

  • YouTube ripping site Youtube-dl is dead following a German court order. [TechRadar]

  • LinkedIn was hit by a wave of account hacks. [Bleeping Computer]

  • One surviving Reddit app, Relay, plans to charge based on how much you use it. [The Verge]

  • Discord.io, a custom link creation service for Discord has shut down following a huge data breach. [Mashable]

  • Child influencers in Illinois can now sue their parents if they are not paid for appearances in monetised videos. [Mashable]

  • Joe Biden has urged the U.S. Supreme Court to review controversial social media laws in Florida and Texas. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Podcast editing tools startup Descript has acquired podcast recording app SquadCast. [Bloomberg $$$]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • YouTube has shared tips for making the most of its algorithm as a creator or marketer. [Search Engine Journal]

  • How the YouTube Shorts algorithm works in 2023. [Hootsuite blog]

New features and tests:

  • YouTube is adding chat, highlights, and Shorts to NFL Sunday Ticket. [The Verge]

  • YouTube has expanded comment filters to its mobile app. [Social Media Today]

  • Twitch will soon let you block banned users from seeing your stream. [Mashable]

  • Tumblr is rolling out a new web interface, and it looks a lot like Twitter. [TechCrunch]

  • Telegram has launched Stories for all users. [Telegram blog]

  • …and paying subscribers now have an ‘Upgraded Stories’ option. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Signal has added a text formatting feature. [@signalapp]

  • Bluesky now lets you self-label posts as NSFW and has added a Media tab to profiles. [@ahmedghanem]

  • T2 has added an emoji picker to its DMs interface. [@oncescuradu]

  • Capcut has added a new way for Mac users to share their account history. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Google Business Profiles now lets you manage your social links. [Search Engine Land]

💲 Advertise in Geekout

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  • Geekout subscribers manage social media for the world’s biggest brands including Apple, Amazon, BBC, Edelman, Redbull, Twitter, McDonalds, Nike, and more

  • Geekout has an industry-beating open rate of 51% and a 20% click rate!

You should advertise in Geekout! Get in touch: [email protected]

📖 Weekend reading

😳 And finally...

Exploitative parents, watch out: Child influencers in Illinois can now sue their parents if they’re not paid for appearances in monetised videos.

📅 Back next week...

…And that’s everything new in social media land this week.

Quick thing… 

Want me to be your social media career mentor in 2023?

Find out and add your details to the waitlist.


Social Media Career Boost Sessions
I’ve now completed 40+ (free) social media career boost sessions with Geekout subscribers.

I’m mad busy with work for the next few weeks, but I will add more slots soon. Promise.

Right… I’m heading off to see if Zuck still fancies a fight.

Goodbye geeks



This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant

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