The REAL Zuck v Elon cage match is on

… Can Threads shred Twitter?

Hello Geeks

I’m back! Did you miss me? (don’t answer that).

Before we get started… Who am I? Gizmodo got snarky about me and now I’m not sure! 😆

I have had a wild couple of weeks. I had the best time at Glastonbury. Then I blew my son’s mind at WWE Smackdown. And this week back at work has been insane. The Threads launch turned into a media circus with me popping up on TV all over the place. My work schedule on Wednesday was intense.

But let's get back to business. Twitter rate limiting chaos. Tweetdeck being paywalled. Meta launching Threads. Now Elon threatening to sue Meta over launching Threads (follow me there). It’s all kicking off! Switch on ‘Do not disturb’ mode and get comfy. I’m going to bring you up to speed.


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Okay folks… let’s do this. First up. The hottest headlines in social this week:


  1. Meta Launched Threads to Challenge Elon Musk’s Twitter [GAME ON]

  2. Twitter Threatens to Sue Meta Over Rival Threads App [POPCORN TIME]

  3. Twitter Sends Platform into Chaos with Daily Rate Limits [TWEET RATIONS]

  4. Twitter Will Soon Make You Pay For TweetDeck [THANKS ELON]

  5. Meta Faces New Setback to Sending Personalized Ads in EU [APPEAL DENIED]

…And here’s your speedy, skim-read friendly round-up of everything else new and worthy of your attention:

Meta / Facebook / Instagram / WhatsApp

Facebook added a YouTube-like share video at timestamp feature… Instagram users are reporting the Insta logo has changed to ‘For You’ in-app (hello tiktok) … Instagram now lets you add up to three collaborators for Reels and posts… Instagram has also added a ‘Non-personalised’ filter for the search and explore page … WhatsApp is testing a sticker suggestion feature and the ability to send videos in ‘HD’ quality.

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Twitter is testing improved tweet analytics (I’d settled for the analytics page populating for once) … Twitter is rolling out support for video picture in picture mode … Twitter videos now support double-tap to fast forward and rewind … Twitter is finally testing a download video button … And Twitter may soon allow you to speak in Twitter Spaces on desktop.

YouTube / TikTok

YouTube is experimenting with a new lock screen feature for Premium users …

YouTube is also trialling hyperlinked keywords in comments … TikTok launched its Spotify rival TikTok Music in Brazil + Indonesia … TikTok launched a music creation and audio editing app called Ripple … And TikTok also launched a new Creative Assistant feature.

And finally

Reddit war with Mods rages on. It has demanded moderators remove NSFW labels or face having their mod powers removed.


  • PRO-TIPS: Meta Ad Campaign Objectives Tips and Tactics [LEARN MORE]

  • PRO TIPS II: How to Write Effective Generative AI Art Prompts [SHOW ME]

  • LINKEDIN: The Secrets to Breaking Through on the LinkedIn Feed [REVEAL]

  • GEEK TALK: Social Media APIs Explained in Simple Terms [TEACH ME]

  • YOUTUBE: How the YouTube Algorithm Works [TELL ME]

– Matt

🚨 Everyone's talking about...

Threads, Threads, Threads. It’s all anyone wants to talk about this week.

And with good reason. It’s good. Really good.

The app appeared in the App Store ahead of launch, generating a surprising level of excitement from people who would usually be cynical about anything Meta does.

But given the supreme level of platform-trashing Elon Musk has been doing lately at Twitter (more on that below), it’s not a surprise that Zuck looks like the good guy here.

So will Threads be a long-term hit? 50 million users in its first day, along with 95 million posts and 190m+ likes suggests yes. It’s on track to become the fastest platform ever to hit 100 million users! Even politicians are already jumping on board.

It went straight to the top of the App Store charts (it was even top 5 in China, where Western social apps are banned).

But remember that the ease of signing up (it uses your Instagram account) coupled with the heavy media coverage of the launch means lots of people were bound to sign up out of curiosity.

Whether they’re still using it daily in six months’ time is the test. Still, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri sees launching Threads as a risky bet worth taking. Social media managers might not agree - all these new platforms can mean a lot more work.

Before Threads’ first day was over, Twitter had responded. First with a passive-aggressive “we’re often imitated” tweet, but then a legal letter threatening to sue Meta.

Meta’s response to suggestions it hired former Twitter engineers to build a rival? “That’s just not a thing”. Even if that’s not true, it might not matter.

And it looks like a stash of patents in Meta’s cupboard could be trouble for Twitter if Meta wanted to go nuclear.

🧵 Tying up the Threads: things you need to know 🧵

There has been so much Threads news this week, so let’s round it up for you:

  • Know the lingo: If you’re wondering if a Threads post should be called a stitch, no - Meta says they’re ‘posts’. Boring! Brush upon your threads terminology here 👇

  • Features: It’s a pretty bare-bones app, with lots of features still to come - including, yes, an edit button and a much-needed chronological feed. Just don’t expect ‘double tap to like’, with good reason.

  • Monetisation: There are no ads in Threads, and it seems there won’t be at least until next year. But advertisers are already intrigued.

  • Data collection: Based on its Apple App Store listing, there was lots of concern about Threads claiming lots of personal data. But even if Meta doesn’t already have all of yours (you’re already on Facebook and Instagram, right?), many other apps collect this data too - or more!

  • Missing EU: Don’t forget that the EU misses out on the party (for now) because US tech companies are wary of new competition rules there. That hasn’t stopped some users and brands finding ways in.

  • Deleting your account: Don’t want Threads after all? You currently can’t ditch it without deleting your Instagram account entirely. But that will change.

  • Mastodon compatibility: Support for the ActivityPub protocol is coming, meaning your Threads posts could turn up in apps like Mastodon in the future. Mastodon’s CEO reacted to the launch, aiming to calm fears from the platform’s most hardcore users about what Meta getting involved would mean. Alex Stamos has some useful thoughts on this too.

  • Twitter compatibility: Haha -it’s easy to share Threads to Twitter!

You could call it “The slow sad death of Twitter”. Elon Musk turned up the heat on his apparent campaign to completely misunderstand everything about the platform he owns this week.

Over the weekend, users started seeing their feeds freezing up. It turned out it was deliberate - an attempt, Musk said, to stave off data scrapers. Even if that was true, putting harsh limits on your most avid readers’ use of the app is… a brave move.

Even staff were kept in the dark about the limits rolling out. There was speculation Twitter was DDOSing itself, while others thought it was just the latest attempt to cut costs at the platform.

Just like with Tesla cutting back on self-driving car sensors, thus making true full self-driving more difficult to achieve, Elon Musk is king of the false economy.

Eventually, a dry corporate blog post went up to address the issue, but it ignored the strength of users’ feelings.

And that was just part of the madness! As Geekout hit your inbox last week, news was breaking that Twitter had blocked logged-out visitors from viewing tweets or profiles. Another anti-scraping move, apparently, but again - one that reduces Twitter’s importance in the information landscape.

Twitter’s Google rankings plummeted, and the company has partially backtracked on the move.

Elon wasn’t done yet. There was more annoyance on the way for power users. API changes broke the old version of TweetDeck, forcing users over to the inferior new version. This new version, Twitter said, will become a Twitter Blue subscription feature next month. Pay for something worse? Smart business! 🤔

All of this jiggery-pokery has implications. Twitter is becoming less useful and less appealing to people who use it professionally

It all added up to an open goal for Twitter’s rivals. Spill reached number 1 in the App Store. Bluesky became so in demand, with record traffic, that it temporarily halted new user signups. Mastodon saw big growth too.

And of course, it was perfect timing for Meta to launch its own rival. Genius management, Elon. Genius.

😆 LOL tweets

Mark Zuckerberg’s last tweet was 11 years ago. As Threads launched, he returned to Twitter to drop a timely meme:

This is brutal:

See this roundup for more Threads memes.

Twitter’s new rate limits drew plenty of laughter too:

🪧 Brand social

Brands were all over Elon’s rate limits:

👀 Must-reads

“Twitter’s dying, Reddit’s changing, everything else is entertainment – and there’s nowhere left to hang out.” … even with the launch of Threads, it certainly feels like the end of an era out there.


💬 You can quote me on that

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

It was a busy week for interviews. The launch of Threads meant I popped up all over the place. Here’s just a flavour of the media madness:

Mail Online asked me to test Threads, and give my verdict on whether it's REALLY a Twitter-killer:


I also popped up in the Evening Standard’s podcast:

🤔 That’s your opinion…

James Ball sums up Twitter’s death spiral problem. Tap through to read it in full:

😮 WTF?!

In 2020, Katie Sorensen posted an Instagram video describing how a couple tried to kidnap her two children at a craft store. But all was not as it seemed…

⚒️ Top tools

“AI headshot generators can produce life-like headshot images. Try these headshot generators for professional looking close up photos.”


What’s heading for the social media graveyard this week?

Snap is shutting its GIF database, Gfycat, at the end of the summer. Miaow.

🧵 Top thread

No, not that kind of Thread…

Tap through for some useful guidance on the FTC’s new disclosure rules for creators 👇

🤖 A.I.-mazing

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


💡 Feature spotlight

An app change worth knowing about:

📊 Social stats


  • TikTok's STEM feed has increased traffic on relevant hashtags by 30%

📈 Charts of the week

This is a timely one. How long with Threads last?


Meta News

  • Meta has been asked by senators to detail efforts to prevent sharing of child sexual-abuse material. [Wall Street Journal $$$]

  • Meta’s new parental tools will not protect vulnerable children, some experts say. [The Guardian]

  • Meta has been in talks with Tencent to bring Meta’s Quest VR headset to China. [Wall Street Journal $$$]

  • …but Chinese state media suggests the country’s government isn’t impressed. [CNBC]

  • The Canadian government has stopped buying ads from Meta over the company’s plans to end news provision in the country. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Instagram faced criticism for blocking the #VaginalCancer hashtag. It’s now been unblocked. [Mashable]

  • Meta has lost an EU court fight over German antitrust action against Facebook. [Bloomberg Law $$$]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Meta Campaign Objectives: Best practices for 2023. [Jon Loomer]

  • Meta has published a holiday planning guide for your end-of-year campaigns. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:


  • Facebook now allow users to select a cover photo for Reel. [@oncescuradu]

  • Facebook Reels now has two feeds: ‘For You’ and ‘Following’. [@oncescuradu]

  • Facebook has added a new suicide and self-injury crisis support feature in India. [Meta Newsroom]

  • Facebook has been spotted offering pinnable searches. [@VideoGamesFan22]


  • Instagram is expanding the ability to tag more than one collaborator to more users. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Instagram now has a ‘Not personalized’ feed in the Search section. [@oncescuradu]

  • Instagram now has a “Trending audio” page, featuring the top 50 audio tracks that have quickly gained popularity in reels over the past three days. [@howfxr]

  • Instagram has replaced its logo in-app with ‘For You’. [@MattNavarra]

  • Instagram has been spotted offering backup options for popular cloud storage services. [@howfxr]

  • Instagram now shows the profile icon of the creator when you shjare their video in Stories. [@howfxr]


  • Threads is working on showing a small preview of what your repost will look like in the timeline. [@alex193a]


  • WhatsApp has introduced a new QR code-based local data transfer method for moving chats to a different phone on the same operating system. [TechCrunch]

  • WhatsApp is testing the ability to send high-quality videos. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp has added a new privacy notice for community admins regarding their phone numbers. [@ahmedghanem]

  • WhatsApp is testing a sticker suggestion feature. [WABetaInfo]

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

  • Meta made clear Quest Pros for some employees. [UploadVR]

Twitter News

  • Twitter has begun to obtain payments licences in US states. [Fortune $$$]

  • Twitter faces a new lawsuit over alleged non-payment for office services in four countries. [The Guardian]

  • A Jake Paul tweet promoting Ladbrokes has been banned for being 'irresponsible'. [Sky News]

New features and tests:

  • Twitter has launched a new version of Analytics in beta. [@MattNavarra]

  • Twitter is rolling out support for picture-in-picture on iOS. [MacRumors]

  • Twitter videos now support double-tap for fast-forward and rewind on videos. [@cb_doge]

  • Twitter looks closer to launching a recruitment feature. [@nima_owji]

TikTok News

  • TikTok Shop is booming in Indonesia. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • TikTok has asked a judge to block Montana’s ban of the app. [Reuters $$$]

  • Footage of French riots is driving growth in TikTok engagement. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • TikTok says its STEM feed has increased traffic on relevant hashtags by 30%. [TubeFilter]

  • A New Jersey judge is under investigation for offensive TikTok posts. [Gizmodo]

New features and tests:

  • TikTok has launched Creative Assistant, a virtual assistant to help marketers and creators produce content. [@LindsayGamble_]

  • TikTok has replaced Like counts with post count on profile pages. [@jonah_manzano]

  • ByteDance has launched a music creation and editing app called Rippe. It’s in beta in the US. [TechCrunch]

  • TikTok is now displaying labels in words for profile categories. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok now supports picture-in-picture video on iOS. [@ahmedghanem]

💥 More social media news and updates

  • Reddit users said goodbye to their favourite third-party apps with tributes and memes. [The Verge]

  • …and the apps all died as Reddit promised. [The Verge]

  • The Reddit moderators who coordinate many celebrity AMAs have quit. [The Verge]

  • …and other mod protests continue. [Mashable]

  • …and Reddit is still threatening mods with removal, but not acting. [The Verge]

  • Social media has been blamed for fuelling the recent riots in France. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • The company linked to a plan to take Truth Social public has agreed to a settlement with the SEC over alleged rule-breaking in the process. [Axios]

  • The FTC's new social media influencer rules bring big changes in the US. [@RobertFreundLaw]

  • The French government could cut off social media during unrest. [The Guardian]

  • A US judge has restricted White House communications with social media companies, amid claims the government is censoring. [conservative viewpoints in violation of the First Amendment. [The Verge]

  • Meta and TikTok have told the EU that they meet EU ‘gatekeeper’ status. [Reuters $$$]

  • Snap-owned GIF database Gfycat is shutting down on 1 September. [Engadget]

  • Twitch streamer Ibai Llanos drew 3.4 million viewers for a boxing match, breaking the platform’s world record. [Gizmodo]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • How to write effective generative A.I. image prompts for social media posts. [Hootsuite blog]

New features and tests:

  • Linkedin has added a “Post ideas” feature for pages. [@oncescuradu]

  • Snapchat has added a Barbie AR lens. [Variety]

  • Snapchat is rolling out tits Chat Effects to users. [@hahahammad_]

  • Snapchat no longer shows the "From Camera Roll" label or if the photo or video was taken before the uploading time. [@ahmed_ghanem]

  • YouTube is testing hyperlinked keywords in video comments. [Social Media Today]

  • YouTube is experimenting with a new lock screen feature for Premium users. [TechCrunch]

  • Mastodon has refreshed its official app for Android users with a Material You redesign as the platform reports record activity. [TechCrunch]

  • Spill has launched new features including ‘Stack Spills’ and an unquote button. [@oncescuradu]

📖 Weekend reading

😳 And finally...

“The plain ham sandwiches, simple salads and other American-style packed lunches that fill office refrigerators don’t exactly scream ‘Instagram.’ But they’re a social media sensation in China, where they have their own hashtag: #WhitePeopleFood.”

📅 Back next week...

… And that’s EVERYTHING new in social this week. ✅ 👊

📣 Just a quick bit of housekeeping before I let you shoot off…

Geekout will be taking its annual summer holiday shortly. I need a digital detox!

No Geekout Newsletter on Friday 21 July + Friday 28 July. BUT I will be back in your inbox on Friday 4 August.

Right… I’m heading off to check whether Meta has pivoted Threads already, or added Reels feed!

Goodbye geeks

– Matt


This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant

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