The worst social media double act (ever)

… please god no

Hello, geeks,

Credit: Geekout Pro member Vicki Jakes

It’s been a wild week… I’m in a Netflix documentary. WTF! 😳

And just when you thought Twitter couldn’t sink any lower… Trump shows up. Oh lord.

I’m so not into a Musk / Trump double act on X. More on that in a moment.

We have a new sponsor! A big thank you to the team at Sprout Social for supporting Geekout. We’re kicking things off with an awesome FREE webinar coming up next week (more details below).


I LOVED recording this… ❤️ I shared some of the WILDEST stories from my career in social on the latest Social Creatures podcast. Some of the stories have never been talked about by me publicly before — ✨ Watch this clip or 🎧 Listen to full episode.

DON’T MISS THIS… It’s going to be a fun one (and it's free!) 🔥👇

I'm excited to join Sprout Social's upcoming webinar about what Threads has taught us about the rise and fall of new platforms.

We'll discuss…

  • Threads is here… What happens next?

  • What should your Threads social strategy look like?

  • Is Threads really a Twitter Killer? And does it matter anyway?

I'll be joined by Richard Cook from Monzo, and it'll be hosted by Social Creatures' podcast host, Cat Anderson.

…And maybe I’ll share another wild true story I’ve never shared before🔥😆

Request an invite (It’s free!)

Time to jump into the hottest headlines in social this week. Lets do this…


  1. Meta, TikTok Update Platforms As New EU Rules Kick-In [REGULATED]

  2. X To Test Hiding News Headlines in Link Previews [WHATS THE STORY]

  3. Meta Launched Web Version of Threads [WEB THREADS]

  4. Leaked: Draft of TikTok Plan to Avoid U.S Ban [NO DEAL?]

  5. Elon Musk Reveals Plan to Remove Block Feature on X [BLOCK OFF]

What else is new and noteworthy this week? Quite a lot actually. Here’s what you need to know:

Instagram / Messenger / WhatsApp

Meta said default E2E encryption is coming to Messenger by the end of the year, with Instagram soon after… WhatsApp is rolling out its HD video upload feature… WhatsApp is also working on a full-blown text editor with new formatting options… And Instagram might be adding video to Notes + the ability to reply with voice messages.  

Meta / Facebook

Facebook and Instagram will add chronological feeds for Stories and Reels, but only in the EU… Meta’s news ban in Canada has affected info sharing during wildfires in the country… Facebook referral traffic continues to drop steeply for US news sites… And Meta’s Ray-Ban smart glasses are rumoured to be getting a live streaming feature.

Twitter (‘X’)

Donald Trump is back on X/Twitter after two-and-a-half years, with just a photo of his mugshot… Brands aren’t moving fast to switch Twitter branding to X…Twitter is offering small businesses a $250 ad credit (things must be getting desperate).

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TikTok is taking on Google by letting brands buy ads that appear in search results… And TikTok is killing external shop links to juice TikTok Shop user numbers… Perhaps because TikTok Shop is on track to lose $500m in the US this year… And CapCut has two useful new features including an auto-reframe tool.

YouTube / Reddit / LinkedIn

YouTube is working on a plan to make sure artists get paid for A.I. musicReddit launched a reward scheme for mods… LinkedIn has given its search feature an upgrade… LinkedIn newsletters got a couple of helpful improvements… Pinterest is making a change that will anger teens everywhere.

And finally… BeReal is still trying to make fletch happen.


  • 🛠️ TOOLS: 7 Tools to Streamline Your Newsletter Subscriptions [LINK]

  • 🧪 EXPERIMENT: Do Traditional Search Tactics Boost Reach on Social? [LINK]

  • 🎙️ PODCASTING: 40 Most Important People in Podcasting in 2023 [LINK]

  • 📈 LINKEDIN: How to Boost Engagement with LinkedIn Carousel Posts [LINK]

🚨 Everyone's talking about...

After the initial rush of excitement around Threads a few weeks ago, things settled down quickly on Meta’s Twitter challenger. Can the arrival of a desktop web version change things?

The initial release has extremely limited features, but if you’ve been looking for an easy way of building Threads into your social media workflow, it’s good enough for now.

The development team promises rapid improvements - and it’s going to need them. As Twitter/X becomes a less compelling place for many long-time users, there’s a chance a lot of them will just drift away entirely from this kind of social platform.

With its deep, deep pockets and wealth of skilled developers, Meta is better placed than rivals to iterate quickly and build a place that keeps content creators coming back.

While Elon Musk seems to be trying to attract the TikTok and YouTube crowd and hold onto the sketchy likes of crypto influencers, there’s a real gap in the market for a place that journalists can break news, and celebrities can chat with fans without wondering what crazy scheme the owner might unveil next.

Musk might say he wants journalists to stick around, but he’s going the wrong way about it for many of them. So Meta, how about a ThreadsDeck?

If you were to imagine a dumb plan Elon Musk might announce for the future of X, I bet you wouldn’t come up with anything quite as WILD as removing the ability to block users.

Musk (who once blocked me for YEARS) says the feature “makes no sense” and the ability to mute users will still be available.

As you might imagine, the response was swift from people who value blocking as a safety tool to avoid the attentions of some of X’s worst trolls. Bluesky buckled under the weight of interest shortly after the news broke.

Blocking doesn’t solve everything: a user who wants to read what you say can just switch accounts or check out your profile while logged out. But Musk is speaking from a position of extreme privilege. For many people, the ability for someone not to ever know you exist in the first place on the platform is a massive boon. You don’t get that with mute.

There is some debate as to whether Apple’s App Store terms mean blocking must remain in the app, but if Musk introduced a kind of ‘super-mute’, it might be compatible.

Oh, and the dumb changes kept on coming. Musk wants to make changes to links that would remove the headline of the story from the link preview card. He might think it looks nicer, but it’s going to be heaven for people who want to misrepresent what stories actually say.

Musk is doing nothing to change the mind of people who think X is going to fail. In fact this week–after a glitch that saw years of old photos on the site temporarily disappear–he admitted as much. But for now, at least it seems it’s still a good place to talk politics.

Notice something recently? Social media companies are rushing to let EU users opt out of algorithmic feeds. Meta, TikTok and Snapchat have all made announcements recently.

The reason? The EU’s Digital Services Act comes into force today. As the BBC explains, the act bans targeted ads aimed at children, and forces platforms to explain to regulators how their algorithms work, among other measures aimed at keeping users safe.

It’s not just social media; other big online services such as Amazon, and Apple and Google’s app stores, are covered. But on the social side, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, X, and YouTube all have to comply.

The question is: will much of this make any difference? Users in the EU might have the option to switch to a non-algorithmic feed. Some might even try it. But if you’ve ever switched to un-targeted advertising on an iOS device, you’ll know how it can quickly make your experience worse.

Is switching out everything you enjoy for a generic feed of popular stuff going to be much fun for most people? Probably not. There’s even a danger some users will change over without paying attention, wonder why their feed is so bad, and gradually stop using the app entirely.

The platforms are checking the boxes the EU wants them to, but its the people will decide if those checkboxes are a good idea or not.

📸 Trending meme

Yes, THAT mugshot:

Donald Trump’s team knew what they were doing with the former president’s first tweet (post?) in two-and-a-half years. Sharing his own mugshot proved instant meme material:

📈 Gone viral

A former NBA social media manager split opinion this week:

Some thought they were right to blow the whistle, while others thought they just made themselves unemployable. Maybe it’s both?

💬 You can quote me on that

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

I spoke to NBC News about Threads’ “why am I here?” problem…

🎧 New podcast

This was fun to do. In this podcast, I share some stories about wild incidents that have happened during my career... including some I’ve never shared publicly before!

👀 Read of the week

This Ronan Farrow piece looking at Elon Musk’s power is a long but very worthwhile read. The man has more power over the world than most politicians.

It also dives into his reported drug use, which could explain some of his more erratic behaviour.


🔍 Spot the difference

YouTube REALLY doesn’t want you to skip those ads…

🌟 New platform alert is the hot new thing in crypto circles, letting you buy shares in users’ accounts. If that sounds to you like a recipe for ‘get rich quick’ disaster, you’re not alone.

😮 WTF?!

I don’t know about you, but cracking eggs on toddlers’ heads doesn’t seem like a sensible thing for parents to be doing, even for a TikTok trend:

And don’t miss:


Amazon is going to have to try a little harder than THIS:

🪲 Bugging out

Bugs blighting social media land this week:

Many people this week thought X had deleted images from tweets posted between 2012 to 2014. But this wasn’t another cost-cutting move, it was just another bug:

🤖 A.I.-mazing

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

Snapchat is working on a ‘Dreams’ feature that could turn your selfies into pictures of you in new scenarios

  • Snapchat is testing an ‘Extend Snaps’ feature, using generative AI to zoom images out. Some Snapchat+ subscribers appear to have access

  • LinkedIn is using A.I. to bring you a more personalised feed

  • Meta launched its A.I. coding tool as it looks to compete with OpenAI

  • Meta has released an advanced AI-powered language translator, with support for nearly 100 languages

💡 New feature spotlight

This is handy if you do paid posts on LinkedIn, although the disclosure isn’t easy to spot.


📊 Social stats

How’s the bot problem going, Elon?

📈 Charted

But X is still doing okay in terms of users versus Threads:

More Meta News

  • Meta seems to be overwhelmed by moderation requests and is closing some reports without addressing them. [@MattNavarra]

  • Meta approved hate-filled Facebook ads that called for violence in Europe, in a test by a watchdog group. The ads never ran. [Engadget]

  • Facebook has been accused of risking users’ safety by allowing recalled baby products to be sold on Marketplace. [Wall Street Journal $$$]

  • Facebook’s ‘state-controlled media’ labels appear to reduce engagement, according to new research. [Engadget]

  • Meta is killing its Messenger Lite app next month. [9to5Google]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Meta has published a new overview of its evolving ad automation tools. [Social Media Today]

  • Meta has shared best practices for Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:


  • Facebook has added “Share as Reel” for video Stories. [@oncescuradu]

  • Facebook has been spotted only showing only notifications received in the past 24 hours. [@oncescuradu]

  • Facebook has added new feed content controls. [@ahmedghanem]


  • Instagram now lets you go live exclusively for subscribers. [@jonah_manzano]

  • Instagram now lets you choose between creating a privat eor public event. [@jonah_manzano]

  • Instagram has added a ‘show pronouns only to followers’ option. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Instagram is working on the ability to share a screenshot of your Explore Grid in Stories. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram now lets you see Reels trends from the professional menu. [@Jonah_Manzano]

  • Instagram could soon add an early access request option for its character chatbots. [@alex193a]

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

  • Instagram is working on the ability to reply to notes with a voice message. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram could soon let you remove the ‘seen’ status on your messages to others. [@alex193a]


  • WhatsApp is rolling out HD video support in beta. [Android Police]

  • WhatsApp is working on fancier text formatting options. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp is testing polls for announcement groups. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp is working on a way to quickly send view-once photos and videos. [Android Police]

  • WhatsApp could soon let admins share their group’s recent chat history with new members. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp now lets you set up a group chat without giving it a name. [TechCrunch]

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

  • Meta’s next Ray-Bans will stream video and let viewers whisper in your ear, according to a leak. [The Verge]

  • New details have emerged about the Meta Quest 3, via an unboxing video. [UploadVR]

  • Horizon Worlds is getting more user moderation features with easy reporting. [The Verge]

  • Meta has added branded content campaign oversight into its ads library. [Social Media Today]

  • The Meta Business Suite app now lets you contact support. You no longer have to use the desktop web version. [@jonah_manzano]

More X News

  • X blocked links to a Democratic political tool for a week. [TechCrunch]

  • X has scheduled the first meeting of its relaunched Client Council of big-spending advertisers. [Social Media Today]

  • French publishers have accused Elon Musk and X of trying to dodge EU copyright rules. [Politico]

New features and tests:

  • X has completed its roll-out of Community Notes in a number of European countries. [@kcoleman]

  • X is working on a ‘Report EU illegal content’ option. [@nima_owji]

More TikTok News

  • TikTok’s music boss has opened up about the company’s plan to take on Spotify. [Semafor]

  • Montana’s Attorney General has compared TikTok to “cancer-causing radio” 🤔 [Gizmodo]

  • The BBC has teamed up with TikTok to find new talent - even though its staff are advised not to install the app. [Deadline]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • TikTok has published its Holiday Marketing Guide for 2023. [Social Media Today]

  • Want to understand the basics of TikTok ad campaigns? The company has you covered. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:

  • TikTok has added a ‘Live goal’ button at the bottom of the screen before you go live. [@jonah_manzano]

  • TikTok is expanding its Events API to provide more tracking data points for Shopify users. [Social Media Today]

  • TikTok has been spotted offering a ‘swipe left for more stories from this user’ option. [@oncescuradu]

💥 More social media news and updates

  • Social platforms should do more to stop user data being scraped, data protection watchdogs have urged. [TechCrunch]

  • Triller has been accused of sharing incorrect user numbers in its IPO filing. [TechCrunch]

  • TikTok and Telegram have been suspended in Somalia, because they are allegedly used by terrorists in the country. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • LinkedIn is a dream for spies. [The Times $$$]

  • Reddit has launched a moderator rewards programme. [TechCrunch]

  • Twitch is rolling back its smulcasting policy. [TubeFilter]

  • US teens prefer YouTube over Twitch for gaming. [Digiday $$$]

  • Amazon is offering influencers just $25 per video to promote its new shopping feed. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Twitter alternative T2 will drop its waitlist at the end of the month. [@oncescuradu]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • YouTube has some advice for Shorts creators, including notes on hashtags and the algorithm. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:

  • YouTube is testing a new display for the subscriptions feed, and a new music discovery process. [Social Media Today]

  • YouTube’s new video player has a design with rounded corners. [9to5Google]

  • YouTube is testing smaller ‘Skip Ads’ buttons. [Search Engine Land]

  • LinkedIn has added new features for newsletter creators. [Social Media Today]

  • LinkedIn now shows recommended conversations in the Analytics & Tools section. [@YasserM86]

  • LinkedIn is working to offer better personalisation via its algorithm. [Social Media Today]

  • LinkedIn has tweaked the design of its mobile feed. [@LindseyGamble_]

  • LinkedIn has also tweaked search, adding recommended searches and trending topics. [@LindsayGamble_]

  • Reddit has launched a major expansion of interest targeting for ads. [Social Media Today]

  • Bluesky has added shortened links, the ability to report links and feeds and more. [@oncescuradu]

  • Bluesky has introduced rate limits followin g record traffic. [TechCrunch]

  • BeReal has added a ‘Friends of Friends’ feature. [TechCrunch]

  • Pinterest is rolling out new teen safety features, including wiping ALL followers from users aged under 16. [TechCrunch]

  • Twitch is testing a TikTok-like clips feed to boost discovery. [TechCrunch]

  • Capcut has added an ‘Auto reframe’ feature in beta, along with four new music beat filters. [@SaadhJawwadh]

📖 Weekend reading

😳 And finally...

Do you find yourself weirdly enjoying those bottle-rolling videos on TikTok? Turns out there’s a scientific reason…

📅 Back next week...

… And this is the end. 😢

Well, the end of this week’s Geekout.

Things aren’t that bleak. 😬

Quick things… 

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  3. Geekout Newsletter is getting a redesign. Watch out for changes coming soon. I hope you like the improvements planned!.

Right… I’m off to go mute “Trump” on Twitter!

Goodbye, geeks

– Matt


This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant

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