elon's biggest twitter mistake

...he might regret this one

Hello Geeks

We kick things off with BREAKING Twitter news… This is wild! 👀😳

The big story this week? The death of legacy blue ticks on Twitter.

My sense is that most people do not give AF about losing their blue check. Judging by the likes of this tweet, a lot of people agree with me.

But the impact of removing legacy verification is high risk. Check out this surprising list of world leaders and public figures who are no longer verified. And a few celebrities who (reluctantly?) paid up and opt-ed to keep their blue tick. However, worryingly for Elon, most didn’t… Leading to this embarrassing act of desperation.

Anyways, I know you’re all sick of hearing about this dude… So, I will curtail this week’s rant.

But make no mistake… Removal of legacy verification might be the biggest Twitter mistake Elon has made so far.

I recommend reading this ONE thread to understand why.



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Shall we get into it? These were the hottest headlines in social this week 👇


  1. Twitter Finally Removed Legacy Verified Checkmarks [CHECKING OUT]

  2. WhatsApp Threatens to Exit UK Due to Online Safety Bill Concerns [WHAT-TF]

  3. U.S State of Montana Pass Bill to Ban TikTok From Jan 2024 [BANS BEGIN]

  4. Snapchat Unveils Long List of New Features at Snap Summit [SNAPPED UP]

  5. Instagram Takes on Linktree & Co With Support For 5 Links In Bio [LINK WARFARE]

You know the drill… I’m about to save you hours of reading (i’m too good to you). Here’s everything else you’ll want to know about this week:

Meta / Facebook / Instagram
Mark Zuckerberg is now more interested in gaming for Quest VR (finally he gets it) ... Meta is trying to tempt advertisers with big discounts on Reels ads … Facebook now lets you create a clip from any live video you are watching.

Instagram announced a loooong list of new features for creators … WhatsApp has a bunch of useful new features coming soon, including: 1. Improved message forwarding, 2. Animated emojis for chats, 3. Sticker maker tool, 4. New text editor tool, and you can now save disappearing messages if the sender consents.

Microsoft dropped Twitter from its advertising platform (Elon threatened a lawsuit) ... Twitter now labels tweets it restricts due to hate content … Elon tried to reassure Twitter advertisers, but warned them about his free speech priorities … Twitter may soon add threaded replies for DMs (much-needed) … Elon has brought back keyword targeting for ads (which Twitter already tried before in 2013),

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TikTok / Snap / YouTube
TikTok added a sort filter for videos on profile pages (popular / newest) ... TikTok also added more detailed video view analytics in-app (useful) ... YouTube rolls out a new policy for eating disorder related content … Snapchat is expanding access to its creator ad revenue share deal.

Adobe / LinkedIn / BeReal
Adobe is adding generative AI tools to its video editing software … Reddit is to start charging businesses for API access … Linkedin added a new ‘values’ search filter for job hunters

And Finally…

BeReal finally has a new feature! Spotify integration for music sharing 🎶


  • EXPLAINER: Reach vs. Impressions - What’s More Important To Track [TELL ME]

  • 😎 PRO TIPS: The Instagram Algorithm in 2023: How To Get Your Content Seen [SHOW ME]

  • 🗣️ REVEALED: Confessions of a SMM Managing Livesteams [SPILL THE TEA]

  • 📈 DID YOU KNOW…: How LinkedIn’s Algorithm Makes Things Go Viral [REVEAL]

Alrighty.. Let’s dive a little deeper on those stories we’re all talking about this week.

Geekout analysis of the biggest developments in social media land coming up next. 👇


🚨 Everyone's talking about...

Link-in-bio services like Linktree and Beacons must have known this was coming.

Instagram this week announced that it would now support up to five links on your profile page. And unlike a certain Mr Musk, there’s no insecurity from Zuck here - you can link your TikTok, your merch store, or anything else that might compete with Instagram.

This is a clear ‘okay, you win’ move to brands and creators, but what does it mean for the likes of Linktree. Despite their fun response pointing out Meta itself has used their service, there will no doubt be concern about what it might do to their business.

But they and their investors will have planned for this move. Linktree, for example, offers monetisation tools that some brands may prefer to the platform-specific options available on Instagram.

But even if TikTok followed suit and really hurt link-in-bio services futures, building a company to fill a temporary gap in what social platforms offer natively can turn out to be a long-term success.

You might not get a multi-billion-dollar exit from it, but companies like Buffer (built to allow post scheduling before platforms offered it themselves) and Bitly (from a time when link shortening was really important), have motored on long after many might have expected them to disappear.

So don’t pour one out for the link-in-bio services just yet.

As pressure for piecemeal bans of TikTok in the US continues, Montana wants to go the whole hog - banning TikTok from being downloaded anywhere in the state.

The bill, known as SB-419, cites a number of concerns about the app, including alleged surveillance from the Chinese government and encouragement of "dangerous activities" among young users, such as "throwing objects at moving automobiles" or "lighting a mirror on fire and then attempting to extinguish it using only one's body parts".

The legislation makes it illegal for app stores to offer TikTok, however it does not prevent those who already have the app from using it.

Violations of the bill could carry a penalty of up to $10,000 (£8,000), which would be enforced by Montana's Department of Justice.

– Sky News

It’s a silly bill in many ways. Major app stores can’t even block apps by state, and surely there are enough people already using the app for it to continue to be a menace to society for years to come.

The bill feels more like a ‘let’s do something’ scream than anything workable. But as ways to ban the app at a national level continue, and American social media leaders like Steve Huffman and Evan Spiegel throw their support behind a ban, TikTok isn’t out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination.

But American social media companies should be careful what they wish for. The main bill that has a hope of leading to a TikTok has been accused of dangerous overreach and US tech companies are pushing for its reach to be narrowed.

But still, the question remains. If the US does ban TikTok… what about all the other Chinese apps?

Let’s check in with Snapchat, the quiet giant of social media.

Snap held its Partner Summit this week, and there were a huge number of product updates to take in.

And while the Snapchat+ paid subscription service has tripled its subscriber base to 3 million since last August, less than 1% of the app’s users currently pay.

But Snap keeps giving them new reasons. This week saw updates, including new Story modes, updates to the Snap Map, enhanced Bitmoji and more break cover.

Fancy new AR Lenses powered by generative AI look fun, too.

And while Snapchat’s A.I. chatbot is now rolling out beyond Snapchat+, paying subscribers now get the ability to work with A.I. images as well as text.

On the creator monetisation side, brand-safe creators with 50,000 followers, 25 million monthly views, and 10 stories now qualify to make money from ad-revenue sharing

Meanwhile, Snapchat’s AR technology is coming to the real world with ‘AR Mirror’ tech that is being used by Coca-Cola to make an AR-enabled vending machine.

Snapchat keeps pushing out fun, interesting tech but rarely gets the attention it perhaps deserves. And while they have a long-established ad business, they really do need to convince more users to pay.

Unlike Meta Verified and Twitter Blue, Snapchat+ takes a more traditional ‘freemium’ approach, with less of an appeal to users’ vanity and instead a focus on functionality. Do social media users in 2023 want that ?

😆 LOL tweets

Linktree is taking the Instagram ‘5 links in bio’ news well…

And don’t miss:

📈 Going viral

Is the future of music A.I.-generated?

The fake Drake x The Weeknd that was posted last Friday got 8 million+ views on TikTok. It even made it onto Spotify, where it was eventually taken down, in the strangest case of music piracy ever seen.

It won’t be the last.

🐣 Brand Twitter

The social team at Netflix had a nightmare this week after the Love is Blind Live Reunion didn’t go to plan.

But they handled it well with a frank and upfront approach…

…and the kerfuffle was catnip to brand Twitter, as you can see here 👇


Bravo nailed it with their tweet to Love is Blind Live fail #loveisblind #loveisblindseason4 #loveisblindlive #bravo #netflix #fail #reali... See more

😮 WTF?!

Close watchers of Elon won’t be too surprised here, but a social network actively making harassment easier sure is a dark turn of events.

Specific protections against targeted misgendering and deadnaming have been quietly removed from Twitter’s Hateful Conduct Policy.

Meanwhile, Twitter went all growth-hacky, when Elon buying a paid subscription to MrBeast’s content triggered a notification that went out to probably millions of users. Here’s what it seems happened.


The new generation of A.I. tools is great for all sorts of things. Writing and directing vlogs for top creators isn’t one of them…

🪲 Bugging out

Tech fails frustrating users this week…

🐾 Tracking…

An update on a story from last week: 10-minute videos on TikTok are still a thing, just not entirely natively.

❓️ Question of the week

This is a great one. Social media managers: where do you bury that shitty post your boss has forced you to publish on social? 😆

The tweet spurred funny replies, and some useful ones, too…

👥 Top interview

Bluesky rolled out on Android this week, and this interview is well worth reading to understand the thinking behind this particular Twitter alternative.

Q: Are you ready for Elon to ban your links?

A: As the owner of a centralized site, he is free to do that if he wants... But this is exactly why what we’re building is important

🚨 New app alert

If BeReal and TikTok were to have a baby…

Nocam has a radical idea to make social networking more authentic — it’s turning off the camera so you can’t see how you look while filming…”

💡 New feature spotlight

TikTok is thirsty AF. This new setting was spotted this week ⏬

👀 Read of the week

This piece from ex-tech journo and former Snap employee Ellis Hamburger is good:

“After seven years at Snapchat, I finally learned the truth about why our most important apps seem destined to disappoint us.”


🧵 Top threads

This is a really useful thread for YouTube Shorts creators:

Make sense of MrBeast’s YouTube empire 👇

😮 What did you say?!

Elon Musk puts a price on his mistake:

TikTok would probably disagree with this take… 👇

…and I bet you would love a TikTok ban, Evan!

💬 You can quote me on that

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

I spoke to Bloomberg’s new tech columnist, Dave Lee, about Twitter's relationship with news publishers reaching an all-time low...

And don’t miss:

📊 Stats of the week

Elon can only dream of Twitter Blue subscriber numbers like this:


📈 Charts of the week

Lots of useful stuff here:

This is worth a zoom in…


Meta News

  • …but Meta still has plenty of R&D work ongoing in the metaverse space. [Social Media Today]

  • …and Meta is investing more in VR game development. [Insider $$$]

  • Meta staff has been venting their frustration over a fresh round of layoffs this week. [Reuters $$$]

  • Meta is cutting 10% of its UK workforce [Financial Times $$$]

  • …and Instagram is moving the majority of its London staff to New York, with Adam Mosseri relocating back to the US. [Financial Times $$$]

  • Meta has been urged to investigate its role in amplifying Covid misinformation. [The Verge]

  • Nearly every Facebook user in America can claim a share of Meta’s settlement in a privacy lawsuit. [Fast Company]

  • …but don’t expect a windfall when the payment finally arrives. [Quartz]

  • Meta paid Mark Zuckerberg a $1 salary in 2022… plus $27 million in ‘other’ compensation. [The Register]

  • Facebook is still being used to arrange fake reviews, says Which UK [BBC News]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Meta has announced a new marketing tips webinar series aimed at SMBs. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:


  • Facebook Reels now has a location feature for Pages. [@oncescuradu]

  • Facebook has been spotted offering a Group Recaps story feature. [@MattNavarra]

  • Facebook now prompts users to ‘add the first comment’ on their Stories to boost engagement. [@oncescuradu]

  • Facebook now lets you create a clip from any live video you are watching [@ahmedghanem]


  • Instagram is testing BeReal-like 'Spontaneous Stories'. [@MattNavarra]

  • Instagram has announced TikTok-like Reels editing improvements, a Reels trending page, new metrics for Reels, and expansion of Gifts for Reels. [TechCrunch]

  • Instagram now lets you tag chats with ‘labels’. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Instagram is testing the ability to prompt your friends for a reaction to a Reel. [@hammodoh1]

  • Instagram is still working on birthday celebrations. The ability to choose who to tell about your birthday has been spotted in code. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram could soon show the Stories tray also in the Following feed. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram has added genre filters when you choose a song for a Reel. [@oncescuradu]

  • Instagram now offers a ‘Scale’ feature for Reels in the Layout menu. [@oncescuradu]


  • WhatsApp is rolling out its new text editor for the drawing tool. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp is launching its sticker maker tool to all users on iOS. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp is testing the ability to add a description to forwarded images, videos, GIFs, and documents. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp is testing a new screen lock view on iOS. [WABetainfo]

  • WhatsApp could soon support animated emojis. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp is testing a redesigned keyboard on Android. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp now lets you save disappearing messages, if the sender consents [The Verge]

Twitter News

  • …and Elon Musk is paying some celebrities Twitter Blue subscription fees [The Verge]

  • Twitter brings back keyword targeting for ads, which was first tested in 2013 [Social Media Today]

  • Elon Musk spoke again to advertisers, but said freedom of speech must be balanced against brand safety. [Wall Street Journal $$$]

  • Elon Musk growth-hacked MrBeast’s paid subscription offering on Twitter with a notification to his 135 million followers. [@MattNavarra]

  • The US government had full access to Twitter DMs, Elon Musk has claimed in an interview with Fox News. [Forbes $$$]

  • Canada’s CBC is the latest media company to quit Twitter over the ‘government funded media’ labels. [Wall Street Journal $$$]

  • Twitter’s web traffic dropped by nearly 8% last month compared to the year before, according to SimilarWeb. It’s the third monthly decline in a row. [Vox]

  • Twitter sent out notifications that it is now X Corp. [@MattNavarra]

  • Elon Musk has added $4 per month subscriptions on his Twitter account, with the ability to ‘ask him anything’. [Insider]

  • …but he says he bought Twitter “for at least twice as much as it should've been bought for". [Insider]

  • Intercom has removed its Twitter functionality rather than pay the new API fees. [Mashable]

  • …and Microsoft has dropped Twitter from its advertising platform, apparently due to the API fees. [@TitterDaily]

  • ….but Elon has threatened to retaliate with a lawsuit. [@MattNavarra]

  • More than half of journalists could be set to leave Twitter, according to a new poll. [Press Gazette]

  • The ‘Musk bump’ in interest in signing up for Twitter appears to have waned. [Insider]

  • …and useful public safety bots are among those affected by the new API rules. [Mashable]

  • Twitter is facing criticisim in Brazil over its loose moderation of posts related to school violence. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Twitter has labelled more news outlets as ‘government funded’. [TechCrunch]

  • The inventor of the hashtag, Chris Messina, has quit Twitter. [@MattNavarra]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Twitter has shared tips on how marketers can tap into discussion around sports events. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:

  • Twitter now labe//ls tweets with restricted reach. [The Verge]

  • Twitter Subscriptions have been expanded to Japan, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. [@Twitter]

  • Twitter Community Notes now better identifies unhelpful notes. [@CommunityNotes]

  • Twitter now shows a bookmarks count when you share a tweet to Instagram Stories. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Twitter appears to be preparing a global rollout of Verified Organizations. [@nima_owji]

  • Twitter is working on the ability to search Lists. [@alex193a]

  • Twitter is still working on inline replies for DMs. [@ehikian]

  • A new glimpse of encrypted Twitter DMs has shown up in code. [@nima_owji]

TikTok News

  • Bebe Rexha called out TikTok’s search suggestion about her weight. [Insider]

  • TikTok will remove climate change denial videos and direct users to 'authoritative information'. [Sky News]

  • TikTok’s CEO spoke for the first time since U.S. Congress hearings [Gizmodo]

  • Father of TikTok star Charlie D’Amelio thinks U.S should stop singling out TikTok with ban threats [The Information $$$]

  • and the D’Amelio’s say they considered buying TikTok at one point [TechCrunch]

New features and tests:

  • TikTok is asking users to manually moderate the content on the platform for those under 18 years old. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok now has a ‘faster scroll speed’ option. [@MattNavarra]

  • TikTok now supports playlists on desktop. [@jonah_manzano]

  • TikTok has added a new ‘Favorite sounds’ section on Android. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok now has a ‘latest/popular’ toggle on the video tab on profiles. [@MattNavarra]

  • TikTok has added more detailed video view analytics in-app. [@crisu_avadanei]

  • TikTok has a ‘Bonus Badges’ feature for effects creators [@jonah_manzano]

💥 More social media news and updates

  • …but law enforcement is keeping up the pressure. [Financial Times $$$]

  • Russia claims only 1% of its fake social media profiles and bots are ever caught. [Washington Post $$$]

  • YouTube says affiliate links are "the most beneficial way for creators to earn money at scale". [TubeFilter]

  • YouTube has announced new policies for eating disorder content. [CNN]

  • Reddit will start charging for API access for companies that want to use the platform’s data for things like training A.I. [New York Times $$$]

  • Vertical video is a growing trend in news media. [Ad Exchanger]

  • Snap argues that it’s wrongly dragged into social media addiction suits. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Discord’s A.I. chatbot could be tricked into sharing napalm and meth instructions, but it’s now been fixed. [TechCrunch]

  • Parler is to shut down 'temporarily' after being sold to a new owner, digital media company Starboard. [Wall Street Journal $$$]

  • The FBI used Discord billing records to identify the alleged leaker of classified military documents. [Forbes $$$]

  • Reddit is updating its gender identity and ads policies. [Search Engine Land]

  • Imgur is to remove explicit images and old content not tied to user accounts. [TechCrunch]

  • GoFundMe has partnered with Nextdoor to help promote fundraisers in local areas. [Fast Company]

  • WWE has reversed its streaming policy, allowing its stars to return to Twitch. [TubeFilter]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Reach vs.impressions: What’s more important to track in 2023? [Hootsuite blog]

  • LinkedIn has shared new insights into the latest tech marketing trends. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:

  • LinkedIn has added an ‘I’m Interested button on company pages so jobseekers can share their profiles with prospective employers. [Search Engine Journal]

  • LinkedIn is testing a ‘Transferrable Skills’ feature. [@oncescuradu]

  • LinkedIn has changed its posting UI on desktop. [@BusMark_w_Nika]

  • YouTube has added Shorts thumbnail selection on iOS, and Shorts comment replies on Android. [Social Media Today]

  • YouTube is testing removing a long list of playlists for a carousel instead [9to5Google]

  • Twitter alternative Bluesky has launched its Android app. [The Verge]

  • BeReal now lets you share your Spotify activity in posts. [TechCrunch]

  • BeReal is testing an Apple Music integrations [@alex193a]

  • BeReal is working on a ‘Bonus BeReals’ feature [@alex193a]

  • Flipboard has brought editorial curation to Mastodon with ‘desks’ for news and discovery. [TechCrunch]

  • Clubhouse is working on letting you pin Houses. [@alex193a]

📖 Weekend reading

😳 And finally...

Oh boy… 💀👇

📅 Back next week...

…You’ve made it to the end of this week’s Geekout. ✅

Seriously, chalk that up as an achievement. It’s a beast of a newsletter! 😆

Right… That’s all for this week, folks.
I’m off to see if Elon’s finally taken my blue checkmark (or suspended my account).

Goodbye geeks!


P.S. 450+ people have joined Geekout PRO already!

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This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant

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