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Geekout Newsletter #9 - WTF is going on with TikTok now? 👇😳

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Geekout Newsletter
Issue #9 • View online
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Hello, geeks! 👋
I’m back! I’ve had an awesome week off the grid with my children. We hung out in Cornwall and enjoyed the usual mix of beaches, good food, and lots of laughs. I did start to get twitchy a few days into the holiday when I hadn’t checked Twitter for a while. Going cold turkey with a social media addiction is my first-world problem.
I see the TikTok vs. Trump saga is very much still in-progress, and now Walmart wants in on the deal. You couldn’t make this s?!t up. 2020 has been so messed up.
I’m pleased to see Facebook is suing some dude who was caught selling Instagram Likes. I hope FB does more of this. In the meantime, no… I still can’t get you verified. Even if you pay me. I might put that on my gravestone.
Since I’ve been back, I’ve shared some top tips on social media audience engagement with The Drum, which you might like to check out.
Right… Enough of the chit-chat, let’s do this.
Prepare your brain for your weekly social media news download…
Starting update… 
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— Matt
❗ PS: Don’t forget to join the Social Media Geekout community on Facebook.

🚨 Everyone's talking about...
Kevin Mayer’s resignation was the surprise of the week, although maybe not to TikTok users who had been predicting something big to happen on August 27th for months 🤔.
Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s US general manager, has been far more visible as a public face of the company over the past few weeks, while Mayer kept his head down. She’ll now be interim CEO while Mayer’s replacement is sought.
Meanwhile, the TikTok drama train didn’t slow down. Walmart teaming up with Microsoft became even stranger than server dinosaur Oracle’s bid to acquire the company. Walmart apparently wants to turn TikTok into “more of an e-commerce app for creators and users.” Google parent Alphabet reportedly considered being part of a bid but is now out of the running according to CEO Sundar Pichai.
Oh, and TikTok finally delivered on its promise to sue the Trump administration.
To be fair to Mayer, ‘build a hot social app into a major international media powerhouse’ is a lot more alluring a task than ‘try to stop a hot social app from being kicked out of the US while defending it from increased scrutiny around the world, trying to get it back into India, and suing the US government.’ That’s not the plum job he envisaged, I’m sure.
CNBC reports TikTok might decide between Oracle and Microsoft/Walmart by the end of Saturday, so this whole crazy affair might finally be over soon. But as Casey Newton points out, the magic may be sucked out of TikTok as a result.
Facebook is not happy about iOS 14 and the way it will ask users if they want apps to track their behaviour for advertisers. Facebook benefits from this, thanks to the Facebook code many developers build into their apps.
Facebook is billing this as a loss for advertisers but it’s also a problem for itself. As you might expect, there has been little sympathy for the company about this online, apart from a few people playing the world’s smallest violin.
If you think the build-up to the US election is a trash fire on social media, just wait until election week itself. The New York Times reports on what their sources say Facebook is anticipating:
Facebook is preparing steps to take should Mr. Trump wrongly claim on the site that he won another four-year term, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Facebook is also working through how it might act if Mr. Trump tries to invalidate the results by declaring that the Postal Service lost mail-in ballots or that other groups meddled with the vote, the people said.
Given how social media often leads the agenda for what happens in the world nowadays, there’s a lot of pressure on the big tech companies to get this right.
👀 ICYMI...
Stories you need to know about:
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
Facebook accelerates News tab launch abroad
  • Facebook has ramped up its dispute with Apple over the App Store, saying it was blocked from telling users that Apple would take 30% of the price of online events. [Reuters]
  • Mark Zuckerberg reportedly stoked fears about Chinese apps as he looked to shore up Facebook’s position in Washington DC. [Wall Street Journal $$$]
  • Facebook is boosting its role as a retail destination with a ‘Shop’ section in its main app and more shopping features in Instagram. [TechCrunch]
  • Facebook has sued a man for allegedly selling fake Instagram likes, and it’s also sued adtech company MobiBurn for not letting it audit whether they were copying user data without permission. [Engadget]
  • Facebook is renaming its VR/AR division to ‘Facebook Reality Labs’ and the Oculus Connect developer event is now called Facebook Connect. [The Verge]
  • The Daily Wire, CNN, and Fox News were the top publishers on Facebook last month, but engagement was down month-on-month across the board. [NewsWhip]
Twitter hides Trump tweet behind notice for potentially dissuading people from voting
  • Twitter will now hide spammy ‘copypasta,’ where users copy and paste the same text without modification. [DigitalTrends]
  • Trump has petitioned the US Supreme Court to let him block people on Twitter again. [The Independent]
TikTok Plays Catch-Up on Hate Speech But Still Trails Rivals
  • It’s “impossible” for China to get hold of TikTok user data because it’s stored in the US, ByteDance’s head of security says. [Business Insider]
  • Traditional publishers are eligible for TikTok’s Creators Fund if they have 10,000 followers on TikTok and have received 10,000 views over the last 30 days. [Digiday $$$]
  • The UK government may place restrictions on TikTok like stopping it taking British users’ data out of the UK, but it reportedly still wants TikTok to base its international HQ in London. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • Healthcare groups have warned that DIY beauty trends on TikTok could be dangerous. [BBC News]
  • TikTok launched a merchandise store selling $70 ‘Not Going Anywhere’ hoodies just hours before its CEO quit. He’s definitely not going to be wearing one! [Business Insider]
And the rest:
BBC Sport introduces new policies to combat hateful social media comments
  • Reddit is expanding its ‘RPAN’ livestreaming service to more subreddits. [The Verge]
  • K-pop group BTS smashed a YouTube record, racking up 101.1m views for their new video in 24 hours. [BBC News]
🔨 Tool of the week
GIPHY Backdrop
📲 Quick hits
Updates, experiments, and useful info snippets:
  • Facebook is killing its old design completely from next month. [Engadget]
  • Facebook will soon start letting more people into the private beta of its Horizon VR experience. [Facebook Newsroom]
  • Facebook created a dedicated content hub for the UEFA Champions League final. [AdWeek $$$]
  • Facebook seems to be rolling out its ‘hashtag challenge’ feature to more users. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook has published new tips on how marketers can get better results from their Stories and video ad content. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook has supercharged its experimental meme-creation app Whale with new features, including private meme groups. [Facebook NPE blog]
Facebook's Whale app
Facebook's Whale app
  • Facebook has detailed its system for spotting fake accounts and misinformation. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook will run an education event focused on ‘Engaging your Community and Hosting Online Events.’ [Social Media Today]
  • Instagram is testing a new design for account insights. [@MattNavarra]
  • Instagram will now let businesses run ads without connecting to a Facebook ad account. [Instagram help]
  • Instagram has launched its ‘register to vote’ reminders in the feeds of US users. [@InstagramComms]
  • Instagram has added a new notification to alert users when they try share a private post or story. [Social Media Today]
  • Instagram is working on an ‘audio mix’ feature for Reels, but we don’t know what it does yet. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram has a ‘recommend as featured’ option in the works for Reels. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is working on the ability to create guides to your favourite places, products, and posts. [TechCrunch]
  • Instagram may soon let you use grid lines in the Stories camera. [@alex193a]
  • Twitter will now give more context when people you don’t follow DM you. [Social Media Today]
Improved Twitter message requests
Improved Twitter message requests
  • Twitter continues to experiment with different ways of describing quote tweets. [Social Media Today]
  • Twitter has explained how to make the most of Lists in a new guide. [Social Media Today]
  • Twitter has shared tips for making the most of Cyber Monday hype this November. [Social Media Today]
  • TikTok now has an account for news about itself… on TikTok. [TikTok Newsroom]
  • YouTube is working on improving its blur tool. [Social Media Today]
  • YouTube has started testing native picture-in-picture on iOS 14 [9to5Mac]
  • LinkedIn has announced new user-safety measures based on A.I. and machine learning. [Social Media Today]
  • Pinterest is testing bringing more detail to Product Pins along with updates to Shopping Spotlights. [AdWeek $$$]
  • Pinterest has explained how to use Adobe Spark to create pins. [Social Media Today]
  • Google has been spotted running videos from TikTok rivals in its popular Discover feed. [9to5Google]
🐣 Tweet of the week
Thanks for this, Kevin. 😏
Macaulay Culkin
Hey guys, wanna feel old?

I'm 40.

You're welcome.
📖 Weekend reading
We toured Facebook Horizon, a social VR playground entering beta with lots of unknowns
😳 And finally....
Google’s Dinosaur browser game gets a dope mod that includes double swords
📅 Back next week...
Social Media News Download
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…And we are done ✅
Go enjoy your weekend!
Join me back here next week when we discover Elon Musk or Starbucks have bought TikTok?! It’s 2020. Stranger sh!t has happened.
Oh, just before you go and get on with your weekend…
If you love this free newsletter, can you do me a favour?
  1. View it online and SHARE it with your work colleagues + followers ❤️
  2. Find, Follow, and Geekout with me in all these places:
Goodbye geeks 😎
— Matt

This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
Copyright 2020: Matt Navarra Media Ltd
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