TikTok buddies up with Google

…But what are they searching for?

Hello, geeks

Kicking things off this week… This may shock you.

Yes… Meta + Useful feature for social media managers… Never seen those words in the same sentence before. I think hell is freezing over.

A quick PSA to all brands… For the love of god, NO!, I don't want to join your Instagram Broadcast channel.

Which twisted Instagram product manager signed off turning these notifications on by default? Put your Adam Mosseri voodoo doll away… 👉 Do THIS instead.

In other news… Elon suggested he plans to charge everyone to access X.

For more on that genius plan, and the rest of the week’s biggest developments in social… Keep scrollin’…

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🔥 Geekout Hot 5

  1. TikTok Test In-App Search Partnership With Google [MONOPOLISING]

  2. Elon Musk Suggests He’ll Charge All Users A Fee To Use X [REALLY, ELON?]

  3. TikTok Fined €370M For Breaking E.U Data Law On Kids Accounts [RULE-BREAKER]

  4. YouTube Suspends Russell Brand’s Channel Monetisation [PAYWALLED]

  5. UK Government’s Controversial Online Safety Bill To Become Law [REGULATED]

New & Noteworthy

Everything else you need to know from the past seven days:


Meta opened up its Verified programme to businesses… but existing Meta Verified subscribers say the human customer service stinks… Meta has been testing an option to see less well-personalised ads in the EU (regulators strike again)… Meta has hit back at the UK Government’s latest anti-encryption campaign.

Facebook / WhatsApp / Threads

Facebook gave its logo a (very subtle) redesign... WhatsApp is finally gearing up to launch an iPad app… WhatsApp launched a bunch of new features for business users… Threads is working on an edit post button (and it will be free, unlike X).

Twitter (‘X’)

X shared its vision of the future of its app to top ad execs (most of it isn’t new)… Elon hinted X will soon release desirable (inactive) @names in an online auction (but he’s promised this several times before… Don’t hold your breathe)… X is also reportedly outsourcing some ad sales to Google (getting desperate much?)… And Twitter changed its App Store description from ‘Blaze your glory’ (🙄) to ‘formerly Twitter’ (App Store SEO).

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  • Geekout has 25,000+ subscribers

  • 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.

YouTube / Snapchat / T2 / Substack

YouTube launched its own CapCut rival, called Create, in beta… Snapchat+ now has over 5 million subscribers - halfway to Snap’s goal… Twitter rival T2 changed its name to Pebble… And finally… Substack’s redesign makes it feel more like a traditional social media app.


TikTok is gearing up for a big holiday season shopping push to take on Amazon and Walmart… And it’s setting up in Amazon’s back yard as a base for its shopping ambitions… TikTok and the US Government are talking again. Can the app avoid a ban?… Researchers warned that TikTok’s strict API rules are stopping it from studying the app.

And finally… 💘 TikTok has launched a matchmaking service to set up their employees (what could possibly go wrong 😁)

🚨 Everyone's talking about...

One of the main strands I’ve been following around TikTok in recent months is how it has started to creep onto Google’s turf as a search destination for young people.

Could TikTok steal search market share from Google? That was the juicy question. But now… the pair are teaming up!

As friend of Geekout, Radu Oncescu spotted, TikTok is testing a Google search box in its feed for some users.

The benefits for TikTok and Google are clear: TikTok gets more data about what users are searching for, and Google gets more searches from an audience that might otherwise pass it by. Furthermore, TikTok gets a friend in the US at a time when it’s fighting various state-level and federal bans.

But on the other hand, this is happening just as Google is in court for an antitrust trial. Demonstrating that even major third parties feel they have to add a Google search box probably isn’t a good look. And if TikTok wants to challenge Google in the search domain, it’s going to have to go out on its own eventually.

This is just a test, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But this partnership seems unlikely to hold in the long term, unless it ends up being part of some future deal to keep TikTok active in the US.

The grim allegations that emerged last weekend against comedian and actor turned conspiracy theorist and wellness guru Russell Brand have raised some important issues around how social media platforms work.

Brand has been able to build a defence mechanism for himself by drawing on the free-thinker/just-asking-questions/conspiracy crowd he’s attracted on YouTube. When he suggested there were “forces” at play against him, he was drawing on a familiar habit of powerful people to blame a vague blob of elite power for their own (alleged, in Brand’s case) actions.

Just think of Trump or some UK politicians, for example, or even Rupert Murdoch who warned about “elites” in his resignation note to staff yesterday. Few in the world are as elite as billionaire media magnate Rupert Murdoch! Blaming ‘elites’ with mysterious, shadowy power is a deflection tactic, but it plays well on social media if your audience instinctively sides with you.

Meanwhile, YouTube’s move to demonestise Brand’s content shows how platforms have to walk a thin line between PR (paying out cash to an alleged sexual abuser is a bad look) and some degree of free speech and fairness (he’s not been charged or convicted of any crimes).

And then there’s the strange case of what happened over at right-leaning video platform Rumble, where Brand also uploads content.

According to an X (Twitter!) post (tweet!) by the platform, an unnamed UK parliamentary committee chair urged Rumble to demonetise Brand’s content. If the claim is accurate, that is an example of an elite trying to exert power… but it’s certainly not shadowy, it’s sitting in Westminster, elected into power.

This week, X CEO Linda Yaccarino was preparing to present senior ad execs at the company’s Client Council with a glossy vision of the future of its app (spoiler alert: nothing we haven’t seen before, just in a slightly cheesy video that had an embarassing snafu).

I’m sure the last thing she wanted at that point was for boss-man Elon Musk to say something that would drive even more users away from the platform

But in a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu (not someone known for snagging a tech news scoop), Musk said “The single-most important reason we're moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system is it's the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots."

This, coupled with Musk adding that a lower-tier payment option than the current X Premium price was on the way, led pretty much everyone to conclude that X is going to charge everyone to use the app.

Users said they’d quit, and rival Bluesky saw record signups.

Musk eventually appeared to deny that everyone would be charged. But in a typical move, he didn’t make a clear statement on the issue, he just replied to a user’s tweet with a comment that was almost as vague as the one that kicked off the whole mess.

Will X charge all users? It’s unclear, but Yaccarino could definitely have done without the threat of a user exodus, in this week of all weeks.

Elsewhere in X’s trials and tribulations, the company clearly needs some help with ad sales. It’s started outsourcing the job to Google and InMobi. But at least Musk has a friend of sorts in Tim Cook; Apple says its sticking with advertising on X despite all the controversy… for now.


This 👌 Threads burn comes via Chris Messina:


  • Going on LinkedIn be like… 👈 This is spot-on! 💀

📈 Gone viral

The US Airforce lost an F-35 jet for more than 24 hours last weekend, and the memes did flow…

🤩 TikTok famous

‘Tube girl’ was everywhere this week…

🪧 Brand social

The Roman Empire became a whole thing this week after it emerged that some men think about it…a bit too much?

Brands jumped on the meme. Predictably, it got tired very quickly.

  • Warburtons’ latest Hollywood star ad has been getting a lot of love on TikTok and elsewhere. Those big budgets pay off.

  • These AI-generated Nike swoosh images aren’t official, but they’re very clever.

💬 You can quote me on that

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

I spoke to Al Jazeera about whether putting X behind a paywall would pay off for Elon Musk:


  • I explained to Insider why the move would be risky

  • And The Drum asked me for my input on the story, too

😮 WTF?!

Hey influencers: don’t do this - even if it’s just for attention…


Twitter Circles had a lot of potential but never quite took off. X is right to send this one out to pasture. Circles are no more come Halloween.

👀 Must-reads

Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, has been through a lot, including being publicly attacked by both Donald Trump and Elon Musk. Here he reflects on the drama:

🧠 Smart links

Want to make sure your videos are all the right size for the latest platform specs? Get stuck in:

🔁 ICYMI… How Social Media Managers Can Thrive with ADHD

It still blows my mind how many people I know who have a career in social media and have also been diagnosed with ADHD. …I’m one of them!

Check out this webinar I took part in last year. My ADHD used to hold me back, but I turned it into a super-power…

📲 Hot app

YouTube is following in TikTok’s footsteps with its own video editing app to challenge CapCut.

Create is now available in beta on Android in eight countries, with an iOS version planned for next year.

🔍 Under investigation

“TikTok is driving online frenzies that encourage anti-social behaviour in the real world, a BBC Three investigation reveals. Ex-employees say the issue is not being tackled for fear of slowing the growth of the social media app's business.”

🤖 Social A.I.

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

One of YouTube’s upcoming AI features will help you create images for your Shorts:

⏳ Future social

Snapchat meets the Antiques Roadshow..?

💡 New feature spotlight

Now businesses can sign up for Meta Verified… and it’s WAY cheaper than X’s offering.

📊 Social stats

It will always be Twitter for me… and most Americans seem to agree:

📈 Charted

More Meta News

  • Meta’s next Ray-Bay Stories glasses could be close to launch, judging by an FCC filing. [The Verge]

  • Meta is bringing back employee perks to boost morale. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • WhatsApp payments are coming to India. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Meta is shutting down three Oculus games without explanation. [The Verge]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

New features and tests:


  • Facebook is trying to persuade users to set their default post audience to public. [@MattNavarra]

  • Facebook now displays the number of friends you have under your name on your profile. [@ahmedghanem]


  • Instagram now lets you see all Stories that you mentioned your friends in. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Instagram’s in-app browser can now keep a link history. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Instagram now lets you use any text from any Reel generated by its text tool in a new Reel. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Instagram is expanding Gifts to more countries. [Social Media Today]

  • Instagram is testing a ‘swipe to view website’ prompt. [@jaskaransainiz]

  • Instagram has added the option to add a welcome video for your broadcast channel. [@jonah_manzano]

  • Instagram is testing replies to broadcast channels messages. [@_Youssef]

  • Instagram continues to work on the ability to add to a friend’s Story. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram could soon let you share your location in chat. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram is still working on the ability to create lists for Stories. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram is still working on a Hall Pass feature. [@AVarma2006]

  • Instagram is working on public collections. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram is working on the ability to use avatars as reactions in Live videos. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram is working on an "Add Yours" feature for Notes. [@alex193a]


  • Threads now lets you log into multiple accounts from its mobile apps. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Threads could soon add an edit button but only for five minutes after you post. [@alex193a]


  • WhatsApp is rolling out an automatic security code verification feature for end-to-end encryption. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp has now rolled out Channels to more than 180 countries. [@WhatsApp]

  • WhatsApp is testing the ability to start group calls with double the participants - up to 32. [Android Police]

  • WhatsApp is making it easier to navigate Communities with a new icon. [Android Police]

  • WhatsApp now offers animated avatar stickers. [Social Media Today]

More X News

  • …and Musk’s Twitter handed over at least 32 of Trump’s DM to federal investigators in his election interference case. [The Guardian]

  • Israel’s prime minister has urged Elon Musk to curb antisemitism on Twitter. [The Guardian]

  • X continues to show ads on Russell Brand’s content following the allegations against him. [Vice]

  • Donald Trump Jr.’s X account was hacked and announced his father had died. [Forbes]

New features and tests:

  • X will now let Community Notes contributors consider opposing viewpoints. [TechCrunch]

  • X now notifies Community Notes contributors when a post on which they wrote a note gets deleted. [@CommunityNotes]

  • X Premium subscribers can now pin Community Notes in their mobile app's navigation. [@CommunityNotes]

  • X has added a feature to let Community Notes contributors know if another contributor thinks the note isn’t needed. [@CommunityNotes]

  • X appears to have ditched the ‘Not interested in this ad’ option. [@giradinl]

  • X is working on pinning and search features for Communities. [Social Media Today]

  • X has changed the Verified Orgs icon. [@spacesudoer]

More TikTok News

  • 18 US states have backed Montana’s TikTok ban. [BBC News]

  • TikTok’s strict data rules are keeping researchers from studying the app. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • TikTok has fixed a missing ‘Filter Video Keywords' safety setting. [Gizmodo]

  • TikTok Shop is confusing marketers. [Digiday $$$]

  • TikTok Shop's crackdown on homemade food sales is a blow for small businesses. [Insider $$$]

  • Marketers are missing out on reaching Generation X through TikTok, a new report claims. [AdAge $$$]

  • TikTok is getting tough on tracking employees’ time in the office, using an app called MyRTO. [Insider]

  • In Indonesia, TikTok Shop has been so disruptive that the government is talking about banning e-commerce on social media platforms. [Bloomberg $$$]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

New features and tests:

  • TikTok has launched Attribution Analytics within TikTok Ads Manager. [TikTok for Business]

  • TikTok has implemented Self-Attributing Networks (SAN) to improve ad performance tracking. [Social Media Today]

  • TikTok is discontinuing the "Suggest Your Account to Others" option on 25 October. [@ahmedghanem]

💥 More social media news and updates

  • Online abuse is being blamed as happiness among girls and young women in UK hits its lowest level since 2009. [The Guardian]

  • A judge has blocked California’s controversial online safety law. [The Verge]

  • The EU wants to recruit ‘schoolyard guardians’ to help tackle illegal online content. [The Guardian]

  • Warner Bros Discovery is leaning harder into YouTube and Threads. [Digiday $$$]

  • Meta and TikTok have filed patents for ‘place reactions’ and a ‘volume recommendation’ system for audio, respectively. [Patent Drop]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Reddit has created a guide to making the most of ads on the platform. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:

  • YouTube Studio now lets creators see the clips viewers created from their content and how many view they got. [@nealmohan]

  • Snapchat is adding new AR features built with beauty brands in mind. [ModernRetail]

  • Snapchat now lets paying subscribers customise their Home tab. [@ahemedghanem]

  • Mastodon’s official app has had a redesign focused on ease of use. [TechCrunch]

  • Twitch now lets creators view, download, and share edited clips directly from the Twitch mobile app. [@TwitchSupport]

  • Discord Nitro subscribers may soon be able to change app icon. [9to5Google]

  • WordPress is joining the fediverse. [Mashable]

  • Substack’s app has got a social media-style overhaul. [The Verge]

📖 Weekend reading

😳 And finally...

Who would have thought it. Microsoft Paint is entering the 21st century with some basic Photoshop features:

📅 Back next week...

…And that’s your social media Geekout debrief. Done. ✅

Right… I’m heading off to setup an Instagram broadcast channel just to spam my followers’ notifications. 😁

Goodbye geeks!

– Matt


This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant

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