TikTok’s U.S. ban battle heads to the courtroom

…And Jack runs back to Elon 🤡

Hello, geeks!

What a week! I met an OG social media legend, bumped into Kim Kardashian… and faced my fears.

But before I fill you in… The first music video to be made entirely with AI. » It’s pretty wild! « 👀

And skip to the very end for a BTS of me removing my makeup. Don’t ask. 🫣

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This week, I spent 3 days in Hamburg, Germany, where I spoke at the awesome OMR Festival.

Nearly 70,000 digital marketers and social media geeks attended the event to watch top speakers including Kara Swisher, Prof. Scott Galloway, Tim Ferris. And then later, me 😆 … And Kim Kardashian flew in fresh from her appearance at The Met Gala in the U.S. 

Taylor’s pic taken during my session on-stage

I was super-nervous about my speaking slot in front of 5,000+ people on the final day of the event. I was thankful for the free Dior makeup and hair service offered. Lack of sleep the night before had taken its toll on my eyes!

Caption competition time… What was I describing? / Image: OMR

The highlight of the event for me was finally meeting an OG social media legend… Taylor Lorenz. We’ve been friends for over 15 years, but have somehow never met IRL.

We hung out and spent hours spilling social tea, discussing working in social with ADHD, our wild career paths, and lots of industry gossip. I hope nobody was recording what we discussed! 🤐

If you want to see some behind the scenes footage i took from the event, including my glam Dior makeover 😆, the Kim Kardashian craziness, Taylor Lorenz’s epic dance moves, a sneak peek at the wild free gifts found in my room, and more… » Watch this « 👀

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LOL…

ICYMI… Instagram boss Adam Mosseri responded to last week’s Geekout cover image featuring him in his work uniform. 💀

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DON’T MISS THIS…

Dash Hudson has done it again. They just published yet another super-insightful social media benchmarks report. Updated for 2024.

You’ll want to download this one 👇🔥

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This report digs deep…

  • 11 Industry-specific benchmarks (beauty, fashion, retail, B2B, wellness, and more!) so you can measure up 📏

  • Emerging social media trends you NEED to know to stay ahead of the curve 🚀

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🔥 GEEKOUT HOT 5

Geekout pick of the hottest headlines in social this week:

  1. TikTok Files Lawsuit Against U.S Government to Fight Ban Bill [BATTLING]

  2. Jack Dorsey Quit Bluesky Board and Urges Users to Stay on Elon Musk’s X [DITCHING]

  3. Tech Firms Must ‘Tame’ Algorithms Under New UK Online Child Safety Rules [SHIELDING]

  4. TikTok to Automatically Label AI-Generated User Content in Global First [DISCLOSING]

  5. Meta Launched $350 a Month Business Verification Premium Tier [MONETISING]

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🚨 EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT…

TikTok hits back

We knew TikTok was gearing up for legal action over the new law that could see it banned in the US. And this week it kicked that process off by filing its lawsuit.

As The Verge explained:

“For the first time in history, Congress has enacted a law that subjects a single, named speech platform to a permanent, nationwide ban, and bars every American from participating in a unique online community with more than 1 billion people worldwide,” the lawsuit reads.

Last month, President Joe Biden signed a law giving ByteDance nine months to divest TikTok or cease operations in the US, citing national security concerns. However, the complaint alleges that the government has yet to provide evidence of the Chinese government misusing TikTok.

But even if TikTok has a strong argument, some believe the lawsuit is unlikely to succeed. As one law professor put it, “there’s no law against silly laws”.

So with the list of potential buyers for the platform in the US currently tiny (Google co-founder Eric Schmidt ruled himself out this week), TikTok’s American future looking shaky to say the least.

That means others see opportunity. Substack (of all places!) is trying to lure stars over from TikTok to its new ‘creator hub’, for example.

Meanwhile, TikTok’s US employees are weighing up their options as some doubt it can be saved. Even if this process of a possible sale drags on for well over a year, the company will be under a cloud of low morale that could do more damage to the app’s future than any fear of Chinese interference.

Finally, a couple of fun facts we learned this week:

  • ByteDance’s founder now lives in Singapore, not China. Even if the company itself has close ties to the Xi regime, he’s personally keeping away from it.

  • One of the few people interested in buying TikTok, Steven Mnuchin, believes its algorithm could be rebuilt if ByteDance won’t include it in the price. Ha! Good luck with that, dude. Others have got close, but no-one has quite cracked the code of the TikTok magic.

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NEW & NOTEWORTHY

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

Meta / Facebook 👤

Instagram

WhatsApp / Threads 🧵💬

Twitter (‘X’) 🤡

YouTube 📺

TikTok 📱

Snapchat / CapCut / Reddit / More…

🔥 Want to see more hot NEW features spotted in the wild this week?
Just head to the ‘More news’ section below!

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😆 LOL

Here’s another idea from Soren Iverson of a feature Instagram really should build!

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🪧 BRANDS

Always beware of those ‘fun’ social media accounts that only seem to exist for engagement. They often have another agenda somewhere in the mix.

In this case, the ‘Boring Milner’ and ‘Andy Robson’ accounts work with Fanwave Digital, a company paid by Paddy Power Betfair to post betting tips…

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📈 MEMES

The Met Gala is always a meme-worthy event, and this year was no different as people came up with their own fantasy guest list…

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🌡️ GOING VIRAL

While people had fun with obvious fake Met Gala images, others tried to fool us all with more believable, but A.I.-generated, celebrity Met Gala photos.

File these under ‘ridiculous’, ‘believable’, and ‘highly shareable’ - a dangerous combination for people wanting to keep a grounding in reality!

Meanwhile, the Kendrick Lamar v Drake rap battle was all over the internet like a rash:

Also:

  • An Instagram influencer deleted her account after her bid for another user’s handle massively backfired 😬

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👀 MY FAV READS

This is a good read on how people’s political knowledge and views can be shaped by algorithms we don’t understand…

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🙊 WHAT DID YOU SAY?!

“Management talks about TikTok as if it is the underachieving sibling. It is clear that Douyin is the parents’ favorite.”

– a senior software engineer at TikTok tells Rest of World how ByteDance treats its international sensation of an app. If you wondered why they’d be happy to close it rather than sell it, this might help explain!

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🤔 DID YOU KNOW…?

Here’s a fun bit of history, courtesy of former product leader at Twitter, Sara Beykpour:

Google apparently built the first Android versions of popular social apps of the time, like Twitter and Foursquare, just so the companies had something to offer right from the start:

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😮 #WTF?!

Tech writer and investor MG Siegler had a frightening week. He woke up to find Meta accusing him of something so horrible he doesn’t even want to share it.

He lost access to his Instagram, Threads, and Facebook accounts with nothing but a single automated appeal, which failed.

Luckily, he’s well connected enough that he could get them back, but so many people could have their lives (and livelihoods) ruined by a mistake like that.

Also:

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🤦 #FAIL

Apple rarely misses the mark when it comes to advertising.

But its ad for the new iPad Pro received such a bad reaction on social media that the company apologised and cancelled plans to run the ad on TV.

Also:

  • Meta’s A.I. image generator seems to believe turbans are far more common in India than they actually are

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🎧 WORTH A LISTEN

Looking for something good to listen to that can help you learn more for your job? Here’s a handy list:

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🤖 SOCIAL A.I.

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

Instagram has added ‘Imagine’ in DMs for some users, letting you generate A.I. images:

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📊 SOCIAL STATS

33%

– How much UK publisher Reach’s pageviews have decreased following Facebook’s deprioritisation of news.

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📈 CHARTED

The days of the Facebook traffic goldmine are LONG gone.

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MORE X NEWS

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MORE TIKTOK NEWS

  • A top German TikTok exec is on leave following accusations of bullying and harassment. [Fast Company]

  • Meta CPO Chris Cox says he has “mixed feelings” about a potential TikTok ban. [The Information $$$]

  • Hank Green says TikTok won't tell him how much it's paying him because the platform’s backend is so janky. [Mashable]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • The publishers achieving success on TikTok: Daily Mail, cable networks, and more. [Newswhip]

  • TikTok has announced a new campaign and creative optimisation webinar. [Social Media Today]

  • TikTok has shared insights into the growing role it plays in product discovery. [Social Media Today]

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💥 EVEN MORE SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS & UPDATES

  • Twitch has become an important place for live coverage of student protests in the US. [Washington Post $$$]

  • Telegram will be overseen by Belgian authorities as it seeks to comply with new EU content moderation rules. [Politico]

  • Snap is focused on user safety for Snapchat, Evan Spiegel says. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • A.I. and social media can track depression and anxiety. [Futurity]

  • Reddit has big plans for search ads and a mixed feed as it adjusts to life as a public company. [Digiday $$$]

  • MrBeast has dropped the talent management company that was working for him. [Semafor]

  • Livestream shopping is proving a hotbed of counterfeit items, and tech can’t keep up. [Reuters $$$]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

New features and tests:

  • YouTube has simplified ad campaign creation within YouTube Studio. [Social Media Today]

  • Snapchat has been spotted offering Instagram-like video templates. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Snapchat now counts down to upcoming updates for Plus subscribers. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Snapchat is testing a profile tab view to easily switch between personal and public profiles. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Reddit has added new swipe gestures. [@oncescuradu]

  • Signal has added custom contact nicknames and notes. [@oncescuradu]

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📰 WEEKEND READS

“Every social platform is working to integrate AI, but does it really fit in social apps?”

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😳 AND FINALLY…

I don’t care how silly this is, I’m going to choose to believe it’s true…

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📅 BACK NEXT WEEK…

…And that’s everything that went down in the world of social this week.

Right.. I’m heading off to bed for 3 days. I’ve averaged about 4 hours sleep most nights this week.

And I need to check I cleaned off all the makeup slapped onto my face in Germany this week. 🤡 👇 Before / After

That photo taken by me last night back at hotel when I washed my face 😬

Goodbye, geeks!

p.s. This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant

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