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Geekout Newsletter for Social Media Managers
Issue #72 • View online
Hello, geeks!
Kicking things off this week…
How many hashtags should you use on your Instagram posts? Answers here [ad]
  1. Facebook tests giving you more control of its News Feed algorithm [LINK]
  2. Snapchat made Snap Maps 200% more useful [LINK]​​
  3. Instagram is killing its messaging app Threads [LINK]
  4. Facebook expanded its shopping features to Groups [LINK]
  5. Twitter bought Threader app [LINK]
Here are a few more geeky bits and pieces I spotted in my feeds this week…
Meta is paying creators up to $50,000 (per show!) to use its Live Audio Rooms features (my inbox is open, FB)… Facebook is also rolling out a share to Instagram feature for feed posts… Twitter has a new and improved tweet analytics card… Instagram is testing a new ‘Like’ sticker for stories… Twitter fixed a really annoying ‘feature’… TikTok added two useful new features for comments… And I used a hack to access Twitter Blue here in the UK (and I love it!)
⭐️ FREE REPORT | The State of Social Media in 2021
Discover the trends shaping social media in 2021.
This FREE report is packed with actionable insights to guide your upcoming social media campaigns [View Insights]
FUN: New Google Search Easter Egg Spotted [LINK] 
⚠️ EMOJIS: How to Navigate Using Risky Emojis at Work [LINK] 
🍿 NETFLIX: The Secret Behind Netflix’s Personalized Thumbnails [LINK]
👩‍💻 WORK: Google Meet Adds Super-Realistic Backgrounds for Video Calls [LINK]
Right then… Let’s do a deeper dive on the most-talked about stories making headlines this week 👇
— Matt
P.S. Join me later for your weekly Geekout Debrief on Twitter Spaces at 4PM (UK) today (Fri 19th Nov)
We will discuss all the week’s BIG social media hot topics, breaking news, new features, and more. [Get a Reminder / Listen Again]

🚨 Everyone's talking about...
In these times where the negative effects of social media are at the front of our minds, YouTube’s recent decision to hide the Dislike button seems like a solid, sensible one. The company said it was a move to combat organised dislike attacks, and to promote “respectful interactions between viewers and creators.”
Great, right? Or maybe not. Many creators kicked back. YouTube’s co-founder (and these days more of a vocal critic) Jawed Karim summed up the anger, as the Verge reported:
“Why would YouTube make this universally disliked change? There is a reason, but it’s not a good one, and not one that will be publicly disclosed,” writes Karim. “The ability to easily and quickly identify bad content is an essential feature of a user-generated content platform. Why? Because not all user-generated content is good.”
High-profile YouTubers like Marques Brownlee made a similar point. Dislikes, on YouTube at least, served a positive purpose for users who could distinguish between a handful of dislikes alongside a lot of likes, and a ‘how-to’ guide with lots of dislikes, indicating it might not just be a very good guide.
YouTube hasn’t rowed back on the move yet, but it’s a reminder that social platforms are complex ecosystems, and there are very few universally positive moves an operator can make. There will often be trade-offs and blowback.
And even just having a Like button can be a problem. Instagram’s internal debate over helping users’ mental health by removing public Like counts only ended in the compromise of giving users the option to switch them off if they wanted to.
But in YouTube’s case, that would just have led to creators of unpopular content hiding their Dislikes and making discovery on the platform more of a lottery.
Next time you curse the product team at your favourite platform for a change they’ve made, just remember they probably had a lot of agonising discussions and weighed the pros and cons of a situation where there may have been no clear right and wrong, only an attempt to balance competing priorities.
And speaking of tradeoffs, here’s another…
Meta is becoming increasingly closed internally, with many online staff forums being restricted to smaller teams. This move, designed to stop leaks to the media, is understandable but it flies in the face of the company’s ingrained culture.
As the Verge reported:
One of the core company values shared with new employees who join Meta is “Be Open.”
“Informed people make better decisions and make a greater impact — so we work hard to ensure that everyone at Facebook can access as much information about the company as possible,” its recruiting website reads.
The philosophy comes directly from Mark Zuckerberg, who, until around 2016, would regularly share sensitive information with all employees during a weekly town hall — the contents of which would rarely, if ever, leak.
Times change, and the company now suffers more leaks than ever as a spate of bad publicity has shaken staff unity (see also Meta’s recruitment problem). But as understandable as it is for management to want to stop the leaks, it raises a question over how the company can maintain a fast-moving, innovative internal culture if employees can’t talk as freely as they once did.
As has been the case in this newsletter several times in recent months, the answer might simply be that until Meta fixes its core problem of failing to take its responsibilities to society seriously enough, it’s going to struggle to recapture its mojo.
My tweet highlighting Instagram’s ‘video selfies’ user ID feature certainly made an impact this week.
As a way of identifying bot accounts, the app has been asking some users to move their face around, verifying they’re a human and not a script set up to automatically create fake accounts.
Given Meta’s recent announcement about removing face recognition from Facebook, the negative reaction to my tweet from users was understandable. And while Meta promises not to store biometric data from the video selfies, would anyone trust them to stick to this?
As it turns out, Instagram has been using the video selfie feature for certain account signups since last year, and from what we can tell, it appears to be just as innocent as Meta claims.
However, Instagram doesn’t seem to be doing a lot of checking about just how human the person in front of the camera really is. If you can find a way to automate Barbie dolls to create fake Instagram accounts, they’ll seemingly pass the test with flying colours.
⚡ Must-read of the week
Why Tabloids Talk So Weirdly on Social Media
❓ Question of the week
Don’t expect many serious gift ideas out of the answers here, but you’ll get some laughs… 👇
Matt Navarra
Christmas presents for social media managers.

Tell me the serious (and not so serious) gifts you want Santa to bring you this year
🔵 Meta news
All the latest from Meta brands: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
TOP STORY: Instagram will shut down its companion app Threads by year end
  • Meta is locking down on internal comms as it fights a culture of leaks. [The Verge]
  • Instagram’s impact on teens is being investigated by at least nine US state attorneys general. [New York Times $$$]
  • Facebook is reportedly offering creators between $10,000 and $50,000 per session to host Live Audio Rooms, and is even offering a fee for certain guests. [The Information $$$]
  • Meta’s metaverse virtual worlds should have Disney-esque levels of safety, incoming CTO Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth has reportedly told staff. [Financial Times $$$]
  • Internal Meta documents back up the company’s consistent view that its algorithms know users’ tastes better than users themselves. [Washington Post $$$]
  • Facebook has started giving early access to a new real-time academic research API. [TechCrunch]
  • Meta has asked the LAPD to stop creating fake profiles as a way of spying on users. [BBC News]
  • Facebook and Instagram allegedly gather browsing data from under-18s without disclosing the fact. [The Guardian]
  • Lonely people spend an above average amount of time on Facebook, according to internal company data. [Protocol]
  • Meta has shipped 10m units of the Quest 2 headset, according to Qualcomm. [The Verge]
  • Meta has shown off a prototype haptic glove that could let you ‘feel’ VR objects. [The Verge]
  • …but a Seattle startup thinks it looks very similar to its own device. [GeekWire]
  • Meta has updated how it defines ‘social issue’ ads. [Meta newsroom]
  • Facebook’s rebrand to Meta has seen an old bit of misinformation come back for another round of shares. [Poynter]
New features and tests:
  • Facebook is testing a tool that gives you a little more control over what you see in the News Feed. [TechCrunch]
  • Facebook’s ‘Spotlights Posts’ feature has been spotted in the wild. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook has launched Shops in Groups and is testing live shopping for creators. [TechCrunch]
  • Facebook is rolling out the ability to set a primary colour and an accent colour for Groups. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook and Instagram now let you easily cross-post between the two platforms with a setting in Accounts Center in either app. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook has expanded its ‘Neighborhoods’ feature to 132 more parts of the US. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook is marking Giving Tuesday on 30 November with a range of initiatives. [Meta newsroom]
  • Facebook now has a ‘Live Shopping’ channel on Marketplace. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook Groups now have ‘Add Features’ controls on the Settings page. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook has been spotted offering a participant review tool for Groups. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook and Instagram are introducing new brand safety controls. [AdAge]
  • Instagram Live’s badges have officially rolled out in the US, as a way for users to financially reward their favourite creators. [The Verge]
  • Instagram has been spotted offering a tool that identifies products in images, so users can buy something similar. [@thealicemoon]
  • Instagram is developing a new design for profiles. [@hammodoh1]
  • Instagram is rolling out notification filters. [@iamstake]
  • Instagram is introducing ‘rage shake’ when have a problem, and will finally let you delete one image from a carousel. [The Verge]
  • Instagram has been spotted offering the ability to manage your interests. [@ahmedghanem]
  • Instagram is testing controls to help you choose what you see in your main feed. [9to5Mac]
  • Instagram could soon let you quickly go back to the previous account after switching to a different one. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is working on a quick menu in the Reels player. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is developing an ‘auto-save drafts’ setting. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram may soon offer a ‘Like’ sticker. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram could soon make it easier to delete your account. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is working on adding support for audio and video calls on the web. [@alex193a]
  • WhatsApp’s latest iOS beta includes new privacy controls for who can see your Profile Photo, Last Seen, and About information. [9to5Mac]
  • And WhatsApp’s contact info screen is getting an overhaul, too. [Android Police]
  • WhatsApp is developing a universal macOS and iPadOS app. [9to5Mac]
  • WhatsApp has a beta version of an overhauled Windows app now available to try in the Microsoft Store. [TechRadar]
🐣 Twitter news
TOP STORY: Say goodbye to disappearing tweets: Twitter no longer auto-loads new tweets on the web
  • Twitter’s v2 API is now the default API for all developers, unlocking many new possibilities for third-party apps and integrations. [The Verge]
  • Twitter and S&P 500 are collaborating on a stock index based on Twitter users’ sentiment about listed companies. [CNet]
  • Twitter has acquired Threader, an app for compiling and sharing tweet threads. [TechCrunch]
  • 53% of Twitter users say misinformation is a big problem on the platform. [Axios]
New features and tests:
  • Twitter no longer sends users to the AMP versions of web pages linked in tweets. 🙌 [Search Engine Land]
  • Twitter is rolling out a new tweet analytics card. [Social Media Today]
  • Twitter is working on new features for Communities, including a ranked timeline, the ability to request to join, and Android app functionality. [@HiCommunities]
  • Twitter could soon let you create a Community from the web. [@alex193a]
  • Twitter Blue’s Top Articles feature has now launched on iOS, having been delayed last week. [The Verge]
  • Twitter Communities admins can now choose between Open and Invite-only settings. [@HiCommunities]
  • Twitter is working on the interface for creating a Community without help from the company’s staff. [@wongmjane]
  • Twitter now has an indicator line in its UI to help you know which tab you’re on. [@legion_mj]
  • Twitter is changing the design of the labels it is testing to highlight potentially misleading tweets. [@TwitterSafety]
🔺 TikTok news
TOP STORY: The Sneaky Way TikTok Is Connecting You to Real-Life Friends
  • TikTok usage surpassed Instagram this year among US kids aged 12 to 17, according to Forrester research. [CNBC]
  • TikTok and Disney have launched text-to-speech with the voices of famous characters, but censorship of what you can say with the voices has faced blowback from users. [The Verge]
  • TikTok is on course to exceed 1.5bn users in 2022, according to an AppAnnie report. [Social Media Today]
  • TikTok has updated its safety guidance after commissioning research into the effect of harmful challenges and hoaxes on its platform. [TechCrunch]
  • US TikTok users may be eligible to claim a piece of a $92m class action lawsuit settlement. [Mashable]
Insights to give you an edge at work:
  • Want some inspiration for your TikTok campaigns? Check the company’s new digital magazine. [Social Media Today]
New features and tests:
  • TikTok is testing the ability to add comments to a ‘favorites’ list. [@MattNavarra]
  • TikTok has also been spotted offering the ability to reply to a comment with a video. [@MattNavarra]
  • TikTok’s For You page becomes ‘For Us’ when you’re watching content with a friend via Apple’s SharePlay feature in iOS. [9to5Mac]
  • TikTok has launched a Spanish Sounds page in the US, tying in with the Latin Grammy Awards. [Adweek $$$]
  • TikTok has introduced a monthly live gaming series called The Game Room. [TikTok newsroom]
💥 More social media news and updates
  • Snap has been sued for allegedly downplaying the effect of Apple’s tracking changes on its business. [9to5Mac]
  • Oprah Winfrey attracted an audience of 40,000 when she went live on Clubhouse on Sunday [The Verge]
  • Pinterest has launched an internal incubator for experimental projects. [TechCrunch]
  • Twitch and Streamlab have collaborated to improve the quality of Xbox streams. [Engadget]
  • Twitch and AT&T will offer mentorship and sponsorship to 12 gamers who they think represent the next generation of streamers. [Adweek $$$]
  • UK Parliament has quizzed teens about influencer culture, and has shared its findings. [@CommonsDCMS]
  • Roblox and Nike are partnering to launch Nikeland, a free-to-play virtual world with games like dodgeball and floor-is-lava. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • Patreon wants to sidestep YouTube by building its own video platform. [The Verge]
  • Substack now has 1m newsletter subscribers. [Financial Times $$$]
  • Highly impulsive people who lean conservative are apparently more likely to share false news stories. [NiemanLab]
Insights to give you an edge at work:
  • Want help with marketing to Gen-Z? LinkedIn’s new insights report could help. [Social Media Today]
New features and tests:
  • YouTube is testing a range of new channel management features. [Social Media Today]
  • Snapchat’s camera can now identify food and recommend recipes. [Engadget]
  • Snapchat’s Map now has Explore and Memories layers. [TechCrunch]
  • Snap has bolstered Snapchat’s music library thanks to a deal with Sony Music Entertainment. [Variety]
  • Snap now lets advertisers purchase all Snapchat ad formats in a single ad set. [Adweek $$$]
  • LinkedIn has overhauled the Sales Navigator homepage and added a Priority Accounts section. [Adweek $$$]
  • Discord is building a new bot discovery feature. [The Verge]
  • Discord now lets you add alt text to images, to improve accessibility. [The Verge]
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🌟 New feature of the week
Instagram is testing a new tool to help parents manage their kids time on the platform.
TikTok introduced a similar feature called Family Pairing last year.
📈 Chart of the week
TikTok continues to eclipse Instagram where it hurts most…
Matt Navarra
TikTok usage surpassed Instagram this year among kids aged 12 to 17

Source: Forrester research
📊 Stat of the week
📖 Weekend reading
Revealed: the software that studies your Facebook friends to predict who may commit a crime
😳 And finally...
Hey, Twitter… About that edit button: 😬
📅 Back next week...
…And that’s a wrap, folks! 👋
Does your brain feel like it just swallowed the internet?
Right… Time for me to go share an *important message*. 
Goodbye, geeks!
— Matt
😮 Get MORE Geekout
This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
Copyright 2021: Matt Navarra Media Ltd
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