EU tells tech giants it’s ready to rumble

…rule-breakers will be punished

Hello, geeks…

It’s been one helluva week for social media news… (we have lots to talk about).

But first… Is that you Marty McFly?!… This dude just went back to the future ⚡️

A quick shout out to Taylor Lorenz. Her new book ‘Extremely Online’ is SO good. I read it this week, and honestly… I couldn’t put it down. I think you’re going to love it.

Taylor is a good friend of Geekout. And this is her first book. Let’s help get it to the top of the charts. She deserves our support… ❤️

WIN an EXCLUSIVE Extremely Online Signed Tote Bag

  • Taylor has kindly offered something special for Geekout Newsletter readers.

  • She has x3 VIP ‘Extremely Online’ tote bags to give away.

  • Taylor will sign the bags with a personal message to the winner.

How to Enter to Win:

  1. Pre-Order Extremely Online [🇺🇸 U.S. Pre Order / 🇬🇧 UK Pre Order]

  2. Forward a copy of your pre-order to: [email protected] 

  3. Don’t forget to mention “GEEKOUT tote bag” in your email!

  4. Taylor will pick THREE winners at random NEXT THURSDAY (14 Sept). Winners will be revealed in next week’s Geekout.

Check out my mini-review of Extremely Online further down in this week’s Geekout.


This FREE Social Media Audit Template is soooo good 👇

If your business is looking to refresh, rebrand or just rethink the way you’re using social media, a good place to start is with a comprehensive social media audit...

…And Sprout Social’s FREE social media audit template does a lot of the heavy lifting. All you have to do is plug in the numbers.

Download this template to map out everything you need to:

  • Recalibrate your social media goals

  • Make actionable recommendations for new content and campaigns

  • Eliminate outdated tactics from your workflow

  • Identify opportunities to engage (or reengage) your audience on specific social platforms

📺 How to Do a Social Media Audit [Free Step by Step Video Guide]

🔥 Geekout Hot 5

  1. EU Confirms Big 6 Tech Companies Subject to Tough New Regulation [EU COMMISSIONER READY TO RUMBLE]

  2. Meta May Allow Facebook and Instagram Users to Pay to Avoid Ads [PREDICTION: VERY FEW WILL PAY]

  3. Elon Musk Threatens to Sue ADL for 60% Drop in U.S. Ad Sales [GOOD LUCK WITH THAT]

  4. Meta to Remove Dedicated News Tab in UK, Germany, and France [NO NEWS]

  5. UK Government Denies U-Turn on Encrypted Messaging Row [IT WAS A U-TURN]

New & Noteworthy

Meta / Instagram / Threads / Facebook

Meta appears to still have smartwatch ambitions… Instagram rolled out a ‘close friends only’ option for feed posts… Instagram is also working on a redesign for Story Highlights… Threads has expanded keyword search to many English- and Spanish-speaking countries… Meta is still pushing Threads hard with a new shortcut added in the Facebook app.

Twitter (‘X’)

X has lost another brand safety chief after only months in the role… X launched a job ad card for its new LinkedIn-esq recruitment feature… X is working on an option to restrict replies to verified users only… X may also soon let creators collect subscribers email addresses… X users are warning each other about junk ads via Community Notes.


  • Book a 20-minute career coaching call with me!

  • Use my 20 years of industry experience to help boost your career.

  • Geekout PRO members get EXCLUSIVE access to new slots.

Join Geekout PRO (700+ members)


TikTok is has BIG plans to make its app more social with a push into messaging… TikTok’s Amazon-style Marketplace launched for some in the U.S. but it’s mainly selling cheap Chinese goods right now… TikTok opened a new EU data centre to ease fears about Chinese spying… TikTok started rolling out a Live Voice Chat feature.

YouTube / Snapchat / Patreon / Clubhouse

YouTube started testing its ‘Playables’ gaming feature… YouTube tube is also experimenting with longer, less frequent ad breaks in videos… Meanwhile, YouTube execs worry Shorts’ success could be cannibalising its core longform videos business… Snapchat added new safety features to protect younger users… Patreon added a Discord-like chat feature for creators… And Clubhouse has rebooted itself as a social voice notes app.

🚨 Everyone's talking about...

For years, right back to the early days of Facebook, some people have said they would happily pay for an ad-free social media platform.

Platforms long argued that to create a busy ‘public square’ atmosphere, they needed to be ad based. And let’s face it, ads are an easier way to make a lot of money.

But now, in the EU at least, we might finally get a proper test of whether people will pay for a major social media platform that is completely free of ads.

According to the New York Times, Meta is considering launching completely ad-free versions of Facebook and Instagram for a monthly subscription fee.

It will not only test whether EU citizens want to pay for an an ad-free experience, but also how in touch with Europeans the EU approach to regulation really is. How many people want to avoid being tracked? How many really want to avoid ads?

To win votes, politicians are influenced by what the public cares about. While regulation around citizens’ data is important, governments elsewhere will no doubt look at how the public embraces (or doesn’t) the options EU regulation has given them when they plan regulation in their own countries.

While many once prominent Twitter/X users have drifted away as Elon Musk’s changes at the company rolled out, this week has proven a last straw for more.

Elon Musk this week threated to sue Jewish civil rights organisation the Anti-Defamation League, claiming that its opposition to anti-semitism on X is what was driving advertisers away.

Never mind that many others have opposed X’s approach to moderation (or lack of it) and that many advertisers are more worried about Musk in general than any one specific aspect of his leadership. The attack on the ADL seemed to many as anti-semitic itself.

It led to well-known prominent users, like legendary tech journalist Walt Mossberg, to quit, and calls for businesses and governments to stop using the platform.

Meanwhile, X has been accused of helping spread Russian propaganda and helping Saudi Arabia commit human rights abuses. Oh, and verifying another account using the N-word in its handle.

Throw in the revelation that Musk used his control of Starlink to thwart a Ukrainian military offensive and you can see how people are increasingly uncomfortable spending time with his businesses.

For his part, Musk claims X is no longer reliant on US ad revenue. But then he is known for lying when he feels he needs to. Third-party data does indicate that subscription and payments revenue is up for X, but that’s not surprising and probably doesn’t make up for a slump in ad revenue.

Taylor Lorenz’s debut book, Extremely Online is a rollercoaster ride through the history of online creators and influencers.

It takes us swiftly through the rise of social media, through blogging, Myspace, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and beyond, sketching out the optimism and excitement of the 2000s and early 2010s as the possibilities of what social media could be unfolded.

As we reach the late 2010s, it avoids getting too bogged down in scandals that changed the way many people thought about social media (Cambridge Analytica isn’t mentioned once, which is quite refreshing!) and instead stays laser-focused on the increasingly complicated relationship between platforms and creators.

We read about how Vine’s dependence on creators became a real challenge for the company, and how creators’ dependence on platforms led to many burning out. We move through the pandemic-driven ‘creator economy’ hype to the increasingly fast pace of online trends we see today.

Depending on how long you’ve been paying attention to the social media industry, Extremely Online is either a useful history lesson or a savvy way to make sense of how we’ve got to where we are today.

Taylor Lorenz practically invented the internet culture journalism beat, and she’s in her element in Extremely Online. Given that you’re a Geekout reader, I’m sure you’ll find it an awesome, useful read.

Extremely Online is published on 5 October. You can pre-order a copy via Taylor’s official book website or via Amazon in your country if you’re outside the US. Here’s the Amazon UK link.

👀 Smart links

Useful resources and guides I spotted this week:

😆 LOL tweet

Another genius fake social feature from Soren Iverson:

📈 Gone viral

Justin Bieber and his wife Hailey have such a ridiculously different sense of style that they’ve become a meme:


  • A tweet (okay, X post 😬) about how big the USA is led to some hilarious responses from Europeans, like this and this.

  • The mud-pocalypse at Burning Man became a meme, but is it right to laugh at other people’s suffering?

🪧 Brand social

X’s social media manager has been struggling to recapture the authenticity of the old @Twitter account’s sense of fun…


💬 You can quote me on that

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

I spoke to The Times about the resurgence of LinkedIn:

  • What happens if Elon Musk is right about Twitter/X? I gave my (pessimistic) take on this to Newsweek


A cynic might say this isn’t so much a fail, as business-as-usual:

😮 WTF?!

This is both a WTF and maybe a useful tip.

MrBeast found by A/B testing open and closed mouth thumbnails, a closed mouth won every time. Let me know how you get on with copying him…


  • A Community Notes contributor went above and beyond, linking to a p*rn video to debunk a falsehood about Logan Paul’s fiancee.

👀 Must-reads

Concerts aren’t what they used to be…

🐾 Tracking…

Keep an eye on this one: job listings indicate TikTok is set to become more social, with a stronger focus on messaging.

TikTok is currently one of the least social of the social media apps. That could be set to change.

Private sharing is a key battleground for social platforms in 2023 and beyond, but TikTok is playing catchup.

😎 Faking it

There’s so much demand for videos of people having public meltdowns that there’s a mini industry of people faking them:

😶 No context

I’ll just leave this here:

📲 New app (kinda)

Remember Clubhouse? It’s just rebooted as a social app based around voice messaging.

I love voice notes, but I’m not sure whether this approach will click with the mainstream and justify all those millions of dollars Clubhouse raised in the heady days of the pandemic lockdowns.

🤖 A.I.-mazing

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

This is clever: “Pinterest is using computer vision to scan the billions of image on its site to ensure visitors see a greater range of body types when they browse its service — and not just when searching for specific terms like "plus size."


💡 New feature spotlight

This is cool. TikTok has a useful new way of searching or music:

📊 Social stats

Have we passed peak Twitch?

📈 Charted

Breaking down the creator ecomony:

More Meta News

  • Meta continues to refuse to publish news in Canada. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Meta has shared new details about the story behind the launch of Threads. [Engineering at Meta]

  • Meta employees are back in office three days a week. [CNBC]

  • Meta isn't enforcing its own political ads policy, as the 2024 US election looms. [Wired]

  • Is Instagram shadowbanning LGBTQ and sex education accounts? Some account admins believe so. [Mashable]

  • Meta has filed a new patent application for “pressure sensing for physiological measurements,” indicating it’s still interested in developing its own smartwatch. [Patent Drop]

  • Meta's bid to suspend a $93,000-per-day fine by Norwegian regulators has been rejected. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • More than half of the 14 authors of Meta’s original Llama research paper published in February have left the company amid internal tumoil over compute power. [The Information $$$]

New features and tests:


  • Facebook has added a direct link to business support within the app. [@jonah_manzano]

  • Facebook is testing the ability ot share a Reel via SMS. [@oncescuradu]

  • Facebook has been spotted notifying users of comments on Instagram posts and encouraging them to reply via Business Suite. [@ahmedghanem]


  • Instagram now shows live videos in the feed. [@ahmedghanem]

  • Instagram is testing location tags in notes. [Social Media Today]

  • Instagram has added a ‘Content from Creators Like You’ option on the Professional dashboard. [@howfxr]

  • Instagram is testing the option to add a welcome video for new subscribers to your broadcast channel. [@_Youssef]

  • Instagram’s broadcast channel feature now offers a Question option. [@jonah_manzano]

  • Instagram is working on a redesign of the Highlights UI. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram continues to work on the ability to add notes to posts. [@alex193a]


  • WhatsApp is rolling out advanced search filters for channels. [WABetaInfo]

  • WhatsApp is to let users disable new instant video messages. [9to5Mac]

  • WhatsApp has now fully rolled out HD photos and video. [The Verge]

  • WhatsApp is widely rolling out the ability to react to channel updates. [WABetaInfo]

More X News

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Meta has published a guide to using A.I. in marketing for holiday campaigns. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:

  • X Community Notes can now be added to videos and appear of duplicate postings, as with images. [@CommunityNotes]

  • X has improved the Community Notes scoring algorithm’s ability to detect potentially incorrect notes. [@CommunityNotes]

  • X is working on improved discovery and job recommendations for its job ads feature. [Social Media Today]

  • X is experimenting with improved discovery for video live-streams. [Social Media Today]

More TikTok News

  • TikTok has announced a new quarterly safety update, in line with EU requirements. [Social Media Today]

  • TikTok has a new partnership to enable multi-touch attribution for campaigns on the platform. [Social Media Today]

  • TikTok has announced a range of Fashion Month activities. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:

  • TikTok now lets you add a song to a story. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok has added an Activity Centre, containing your comments history, watch history, and search history. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok now showcases Effect House creators’ earned badges in their profiles, but only for Platinum badge holders. [@ahmedghanem]

  • TikTok has increased its daily withdrawal limit from $30 to $100. [@ahmedghanem]

  • TikTok has added a “Create” button in the Activities section, letting you create a post or story. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok is making changes to how account suggestions works. [@jonah_manzano]

💥 More social media news and updates

  • Social media companies could be fined up to 10% of their global turnover if they allow access to under-13s. [The Guardian]

  • The UK government has denied backtracking on its controversial encryption rules. [BBC News]

  • Chinese social media campaigns are successfully impersonating U.S. voters, Microsoft has warned. [CNBC]

  • Publishers say Snapchat revenue is down while TikTok and Instagram are on the rise. [Digiday $$$]

  • Fake social media posts on Burning Man festival stirred a conspiracy theory frenzy. [The Guardian]

  • Reddit is facing content quality concerns after its great mod purge. [Ars Technica]

  • BeReal is hiring its first marketing exec. But is it too late? [Insider $$$]

  • Fossil fuel companies are paying influencers to do their PR. [Novara Media]

  • Meta is reportedly partnering with LG for a Quest Pro 2 for release in 2025. [UploadVR]

  • Truth Social is asking shareholders in the Digital World SPAC for another year to complete merger. [The Guardian]

  • US immigration uses fake social media profiles during investigations. [The Guardian]

  • ‘A.I. girlfriend’ ads are flooding Instagram and TikTok. [NBC News]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Everything you need to know about the fediverse. [Mashable]

New features and tests:

  • YouTube is getting a more refined sharing menu on desktop and mobile. [Android Police]

  • YouTube is removing some ad controls from creators. [The Verge]

  • YouTube is experimenting with longer but less frequent ad breaks on TV. [The Verge]

  • Snapchat has added new safety features for young users. [TechCrunch]

  • Pinterest has launched A.I.-powered body type technology to make search more inclusive. [Axios]

  • T2 now has a For You feed, but won’t force it as the default. [TechCrunch]

  • SoundCloud is rolling out its TikTok-style discovery feed to all users. [TechCrunch]

📖 Weekend reading

😳 And finally...

If you don’t turn up for a date you planned on Bumble… you might get banned from the app. 🙀

No-one likes being ghosted, but this sounds like an enforcement nightmare for moderators.

📅 Back next week...

…And that’s EVERYTHING you needed to know this week.

Geekout. Done. 👊

Right… I’m heading off to play with the new (old) Clubhouse. Send me a chat if you take a look? 💬

Goodbye, geeks!

– Matt


This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant

💲 Advertise in Geekout

  • Geekout has 29,000+ 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: [email protected]

Join the conversation

or to participate.