‘All Eyes on Rafah’ gives AI social activism a viral hit

…and Threads gets its first breaking news moment 🚨

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Hello, geeks!

Welcome to this week’s Geekout.

Get comfy and set your brain to download mode.

I’m going to bring you up to speed on everything new and noteworthy in social from the past 7 days.

But first… The US A-List celebrity who earns the most from Instagram has been revealed. ⭐️

But can you guess who it is? The answer may surprise you. 😲 

» Reveal Celeb «

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Before we get into the stories making the most headlines this week, I thought I would highlight a bunch of interesting updates I stumbled upon.

First up, LinkedIn…. 

Pretty much like every other social network, LinkedIn would rather you didn’t share links that take users away from the platform.

Not content with screwing you over with ever-shrinking organic reach for link posts. Organic posts containing links are now being made smaller in feed.

If brands want a larger link preview in feed, they’ve got to pay. Like a shit-sandwich, this news didn’t go down well. Check out the comments here. 🤬

Next, over on Instagram

Adam Mosseri and the Instagram @Creator account confused tf out of a lot of people this week…

Confused? Join the club.

  • Instagram has now explained that Reels longer than 90 seconds WON’T be eligible to be recommended in Explore or Reels Tab

  • Hence why Instagram shared advised that posting Reels over 90 seconds long can hurt distribution.

  • Social Media Today’s Andrew Hutchinson does a good job of making sense of it all here.

Annnnnyyyway… One last thing… 

Instagram is rolling out a polarizing new feature.

Some social media managers have been begging for it for years. Others think it’s the most pointless new feature ever.

What do you think…? Take a look. 👀

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🔥 GEEKOUT HOT 5

Geekout’s pick of the hottest headlines in social this week

  1. US Court Fast Tracks ByteDance Legal Challenge Over TikTok Ban [LAWYERING]

  2. YouTube Free Games Catalogue ‘Playables’ Rolled Out To All Users [PAC-MAN-ING]

  3. Zuck And Musk Battle To Partner With AI Chatbot Startup Character.AI [DEAL-BROKERING]

  4. Elon Musk Finally Agrees To Testify In SEC Twitter Investigation [NO-MORE-STALLING]

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🚨 EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT…

All eyes are on ‘All Eyes On Rafah’

If you spent any time at all on Instagram this week, chances are you stumbled upon the image above.

The sheer virality of this image, reportedly made by a Malaysian Instagram user, would make it notable enough. But its origins made the media pay particular attention.

It’s the first example of an specific AI-generated image achieving such massive cut-through.

Yes, you could get similar results creating an image like this with Photoshop, but you’d need a lot more training and skill. With AI, all you need is bit of imagination, some patience, some luck, and you too can achieve this kind of virality with a political message.

What this image’s success says about AI-generated imagery in general is more fuzzy.

This isn’t a deceptive image. It doesn’t show false events that might mislead people. It’s simply an updated version of protest posters that have existed for centuries. It also happens to get its message across without showing the actual violence in Rafah, which frequently gets moderated out of feeds.

Sadly, its success has led to a spate of AI spam images that seem to exist purely to exploit the popularity of the message. Well, social media’s going always going to social media…

_______________

Threads has its #breakingnews moment

Threads started testing its TweetDeck-like desktop interface, with the option for multiple real-time streaming feeds, a couple of weeks ago and it’s already rolled it out to everyone.

And what timing! Within hours of the launch, the first example of a massive news moment to test it with arrived. Donald Trump’s guilty verdict in New York was the perfect way to test the experience, and it was just like the good old days of Twitter.

Sure, you can still get that experience on X if you pay for a subscription and use X Pro, the new name for TweetDeck.

But for those who find X a massive turn-off these days, Threads is the first Twitter alternative to offer such a similar experience while also having a large enough contingent of journalists and news junkies to make it worthwhile.

Threads might not want to amplify political news, but with ‘ThreadsDeck’ you’re going to get it in real-time whether Adam Mosseri likes it or not.

Bring. It. on.

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NEW & NOTEWORTHY

Everything else worth knowing about from the past seven days…

Meta / Facebook 👥

  • Facebook has started pushing notifications about random follower milestones (above) 🥳

  • Meta has removed AI-generated influence campaigns in China, Israel, Iran, and Russia

  • Meta has added safety features to CrowdTangle for use during European Parliament elections, to allay EU concerns

  • Facebook is being slippery about letting you opt out of allowing it to train Meta’s AI on your images

  • Pro-Palestinian Facebook groups spreading antisemitism, a new study says

  • Facebook is testing a Story-like feature for creator insights

  • Meta’s most widely-viewed Facebook content report for Q4 2023 is out. It reveals what US users are really seeing in their feeds

Instagram 🤳🏻

WhatsApp / Threads

Twitter (‘X’) 🤡

YouTube 📺

  • YouTube Music is rolling out ‘Hum to Search’ for songs feature on Android (above) 🗣️

  • YouTube seems to be cracking down even further on adblockers, muting videos or skipping them to the end

  • YouTube is testing a new Search experience, highlighting specific segments of videos most relevant to your search

TikTok 📱

Telegram / LinkedIn / Apple / More…

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

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💬 YOU CAN QUOTE ME ON THAT

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

I spoke the Washington Post about the ‘All Eyes on Rafah’ image, why it went viral, and what impact it may have:

Also:

  • I talked to NBC News about why the image has gone so viral, so fast

  • ‘All Eyes on Rafah’is one of the first major examples of AI being used in viral activism. But is it ethical? I spoke to the LA Times

  • Who's winning the UK General Election social media battle on TikTok? I spoke to i news about Labour scooping most of the ‘Likes’ but perhaps just preaching to the converted

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😆 LOL

Let’s face it, an account you started is your baby forever:

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🪧 BRANDS

Canva users have no doubt created plenty of cringe content over the years, but the company itself got in on the act this week, with an event that got torn to shreds in Instagram comments.

Still, it got people talking about Canva, right?

This one comment on Canva’s post got the most laughs in the Geekout Pro chat channels yesterday… 💀

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📈 MEMES

The UK general election campaigns are leaning heavily into memes. Some a LOT more than other. Looking at you Labour Party.

Here’s some of the posts that has caught my eye this week:

Labour produced some absolute cringe by riffing on the ‘Looking for a Man…’ viral song on TikTok.

‘Good vibes’? Err, no Keir. Not at all.

But the best thing Labour did this week was a Shrek video meme that it pulled down (for copyright reasons?) after clocking up more than 1.8 million TikTok views when i last checked. If you’ve not seen it, tap below:

Also:

  • A 1980s British TV theme tune sung by Cilla Black was a big meme a while back, and Labour reheated it this week. It worked… but maybe felt a bit dated?

  • The Liberal Democrats channeled classic British sitcom Peep Show to mock Rishi Sunak. I’m a big Peep Show fan, so this one was appreciated. And did make laugh.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s guilty verdict has already proved perfect meme fodder:

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🗳️ ELECTION SOCIAL

How the UK general election is unfolding on social media:

Labour and the Conservatives are spend big on early election campaigning. On Instagram and Facebook, Labour started strong and is still seriously outpacing the Conservatives:

Also:

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🤦 FAIL

Poor Pippa! This post from former Spice Girl, Geri Horner did the rounds among social media managers this week.

But really, how much tweaking does a quick ‘happy birthday’ to your old work mate really need? Oh Geri. 🤦🏻‍♂️

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📣 NEW PLATFORM ALERT

Meme Depot is a new way to organise your favourite memes.

As its creator puts it, it’s "a place to make/curate meme folders (we call them Depots) and you can let others add to your depots too… like a mix of Subreddits and Pinterest.”

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🙊 WHAT DID YOU SAY?!

Meta's AI exec Yann LeCun didn’t hold back when he laid into Elon Musk on X about his latest AI goals.

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📖 MUST READS

Facebook pushed recommendations to rival TikTok and win back younger users... and it worked!

"Today, an average of 30% of the posts that people see in their Facebook Feed are suggestions from outside of their network, more than double the number from 2 years ago. Ad revenue was up 15% in 2023 compared with 2021"

Also:

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📺 WORTH A WATCH

Watch Adam Mosseri chat with tech YouTuber extraordinaire Marques Brownlee, AKA MKBHD, about losing followers, being authentic through the lens of “talking to a friend,” using generative AI, and who inspires him on Instagram…

Also:

  • The world’s most famous trainspotter, TikTok’s Francis Bourgeois, chatted with BBC News about identity, internet hate, commuting playlists, and more. The guy’s a legend.

  • A new Netflix docuseries takes look inside a TikTok dance cult 

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😮 WTF?!

Don’t go bragging about that fancy new car / house / anything… in China.

“The accounts of multiple users who posted about their luxurious lifestyles are blocked in a government crackdown on conspicuous displays of wealth.”

Also:

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🪦 RIP

Social media features heading for the graveyard:

Meta is ditching Sponsored Messages from its Marketing API:

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🛠️ NEW TOOLS

MrBeast’s YouTube analytics software, ViewStats, has a new ‘Pro’ tier for those serious about their videos.

And the price is pretty reasonable.

Also:

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🤖 SOCIAL AI

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

Instagram is working on the ability to create themes for chats with AI

.

📊 SOCIAL STATS

80%

— The percentage of online misinformation in 2020 that was shared by a small group of committed “supersharers,” predominately older US Republican women, according to a new study

  • Approximately one-third of low-credibility tweets in 2020 were posted by just 10 accounts

  • 15% of X accounts praising former President Trump and criticising President Biden are fake, while 7% of accounts doing the opposite are fake

  • 76% of anti-Jewish hate speech was ignored by Facebook Group admins and 91% of accounts posting anti-Jewish hate were not removed, in a study

  • So far in May, US daily visits to Truth Social have dropped more than 21% from April, and more than 35% compared to March

  • 65% of creators believe a TikTok ban would hurt their bottom line

  • 5 key stats showing how to reach different kinds of TikTok users after TikTok

.

📈 CHARTED

Growth in time spent with social video is slowing, as is social video’s share of average daily time spent on social networks by users.

.

MORE META NEWS

  • Instagram has been sued for its alleged connection to a mass shooting at a school. [The Guardian]

  • Extremist militia groups are returning after being kicked off, testing moderation efforts. [Fast Company]

  • Meta has submitted changes to its UK privacy compliance proposals, regulator the CMA has said. [TechCrunch]

  • Rest of World has retracted an article criticising WhatsApp misinformation tip lines in India, which was “riddled with inaccuracies and mischaracterizations”. [NiemanLab]

  • Facebook refused to take down a fake account, says TikTok star Grace Wolstenholme. [The Guardian]

  • Meta has patented an AI-based virtual assistant for Quest headsets, and smart glasses that can understand user head gestures. [Patently Apple]

  • A new Meta patent filing highlights battery efficiency and form factor remain a major roadblock in artificial reality adoption

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Experiment: How many Instagram Stories should you post? [Hootsuite blog]

Instagram:

  • Instagram now lets you hide suggested posts in feed for 30 more days. [@oncescuradu]

  • Instagram will soon allow Professional accounts to highlight fundraisers, scheduled live videos, products, or channels through a new feature called ‘Banners’. [@oncescuradu]

  • Instagram has added messaging tools for content creators and brands. [@oncescuradu]

  • Instagram has added a new messaging ads guide for content creators. [@oncescuradu]

Threads:

  • Threads could soon let you show or hide the Instagram badge on your profile. [@alex193a]

  • Threads now sends notifications when your posts get over 10,000 views. [@chris]

  • Threads now supports predictive back gestures on Android. [9to5Google]

WhatsApp:

  • WhatsApp's media viewer has a new UI in beta, with a focus on reactions. [Android Police]

  • WhatsApp is adding event reminders in Community groups, with multiple reminder options. [Android Police]

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

  • Meta’s Horizon Workrooms has received an improved interface but lost some features. [UploadVR]

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MORE X NEWS

  • Elon Musk and Morgan Stanley ‘hid’ the billionaire’s early Twitter stock purchases, a lawsuit alleges. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • X has been ordered by a French court to disclose revenue data to media companies. [Tech Times]

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MORE TIKTOK NEWS

  • TikTok seems to have a fresh focus on courting content from publishers. [The Information $$$]

  • TikTok’s AI ad offerings have received mixed reactions from agency execs. [AdAge $$$]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

New features and tests:

  • TikTok live now lets you display two templates as a collage. [@jonahmanzano]

  • TikTok is testing a new UI similar to Instagram for the posts share sheet:. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok has added a ‘Business’ button for live streams. [@jonahmanzano]

  • TikTok has added a ‘frequently watched live creators’ feature within the main settings of the app. [@jonahmanzano]

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💥 EVEN MORE SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS & UPDATES

  • Meta and OpenAI say they disrupted influence operations linked to an Israeli company. [NBC News]

  • The US has pressed TikTok, Meta, and X to crack down on antisemitic posts. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • The EU is exploring whether Telegram falls under its strict new content law. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • YouTube must stop helping Russia censor free speech, experts say. [TechRadar]

  • Snapchat has announced voter awareness initiatives ahead of upcoming EU elections. [Social Media Today]

  • Denmark’s prime minister has called for a 15+ age limit for social media in EU. [Politico]

  • The mother of a boy who killed himself is seeking right to access his social media. [The Guardian]

  • UK MPs have urged an under-16s UK smartphone ban and a statutory ban on the devices in schools. [The Guardian]

  • UK broadcaster Gary Lineker says he regrets that tweet led to falling out with BBC. [The Guardian]

  • Pinterest has expanded its Creator Fund to allow startup founders. [TechCrunch]

New features and tests:

  • Tumblr has launched semi-private Communities in open beta. [TechCrunch]

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📰 WEEKEND READS

“Cam Barrett knows the precise date of her first menstrual period. Her mother posted the news on Facebook. 😳

“Barrett, who lives in Illinois, is part of a growing movement of young people who are urging lawmakers to protect children whose parents monetize their private lives on social media.”

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😳 AND FINALLY…

All together now (if you’re old enough to remember when ICQ was cool about 25 years ago)…

“Uh-oh!”

I still remember my ICQ number. I have no idea how or why.

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📅 BACK NEXT WEEK…

…And on that nostalgic note, you have reached the end of this week’s Geekout. 🤜 🤛

Nice one. You might just be in the top 1% of Geekout readers. 🏆

____________

Geekout goes to Glastonbury 🎶

Photo credit Andrew Allcock

I (somehow) managed to win the Glastonbury Festival ticket lottery again, and will be heading to my most favourite place once more in just 25 days time. 📆

Have you got Glasto tickets? If so, lets meet up! First drink is on me 🍻

Just hit reply to this email to let me know that your going!

____________

Alrighty folks… I’m heading off to help my 14-year-old daughter with her GCSE Maths and Chemistry revision. 😏

I’m going to need more wine. A lot more. 🍷

Goodbye, geeks!

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

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