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Geekout Newsletter
Issue #18 • View online
❤️ SHARE THIS NEWSLETTER? ❤️
View this newsletter online and SHARE it with colleagues + friends.
———
Hello geeks!
Happy Halloween! And for those of you in the midst of creating and scheduling a ton of ‘spooky’ themed social media posts, I’m thinking of you! Treat it as a dry-run for the often dreaded Christmas social planning and scheduling marathon coming to us social media managers soon; the time when the Buffers, AgoraPulses, and other such tools save us from mental breakdown ;)
In an effort to get you straight to the good stuff, I’m going to share one LITTLE GEM right here at the top. Here’s where I’ll highlight some of the coolest, most useful bits and bobs I spotted which you might not have stumbled upon yourself as you hopped around the social web this week.
A quick thought from me about the BBC’s new social media rules and guidance for its staff. A good number of people quickly tapped out jibes and jokes, and mocked them for being draconian, pointless, hard to enforce, or how it was just another example of a big corporation getting people with no social media sass or skill to draft guidance which is out of touch with the realities of social media in 2020…yadda yadda.
In fact, the rules and guidance were delivered as part of an independent review of how the BBC maintains its impartiality when using social media. The review was led by Richard Sambrook, who I have met with and spoken in a professional capacity on numerous occasions. Personally, I think the rules and guidance produced are robust, well-considered, and totally feasible in terms of them being applied and enforced. However, a few of the rules did make me smile e.g. Emoji-use and these.
Right, lets get on with filling your brains with social media geeky-goodness.
— Matt

🚨 Everyone's talking about...
That headline above is typical of The Register, but it sums up how many people felt about this week’s hearing in which US Senators grilled Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Google’s Sundar Pichai over regulation of the internet.
Like many similar hearings in the recent past, it was more about politicians being seen to look tough against big tech than asking many serious questions. “Who the hell elected you?” shouted Republican Ted Cruz to Dorsey at one point.
Twitter was the biggest target of this showboating, despite the fact that, as Wired put it: “Facebook and Google are far more embedded in American life, and play a far greater gatekeeping role, than Twitter could ever dream of.”
The prepared remarks published by Zuckerberg, Dorsey, and Pichai might tell us more about their stance on regulation than the hearing did. Dorsey warned that reforming the controversial Section 230 would hold back innovation, and Pichai said a similar thing in more measured words. But Zuckerberg full-on endorsed Section 230 reform, and TechDirt’s Mike Masnick was scathing in his response, accusing Zuck of “throwing the open internet under the bus.”
The US election is now just days away, and the social media companies are still very much 😬😬😬 about the whole thing, adding last-minute changes as America buckles in for what could be a fraught week.
Facebook will take measures like “slowing the spread of viral content and lowering the bar for suppressing potentially inflammatory posts,” the Wall Street Journal reported. Tellingly, and perhaps alarmingly, these are tools the company has previously used in politically unstable (“at-risk in Facebook’s terms) countries like Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
Meanwhile, Twitter will ’pre-bunk’ misinformation with notices at the top of US users’ feeds, YouTube will link to election results in video and search pages to help steer users to accurate news, and Instagram is removing the ‘recent’ tab from hashtag pages to avoid false information spreading that way.
I don’t envy the teams having to deal with all this stuff, as the situation only gets more complicated. This week Facebook warned about 'perception hacking’ where "bad actors are increasingly taking to social media to create the false perception that they’ve pulled off major hacks of electoral systems or have otherwise seriously disrupted elections,” as Axios puts it.
Facebook saw a slight drop in daily and monthly active users in North America over the past quarter, but the company says it’s nothing to worry about. It puts the drop down to a boost in engagement over the early stages of the pandemic during widespread lockdowns, followed by now a return to more normal usage patterns.
Don’t be surprised if usage drops further this quarter, for the same reason. Anyway, Facebook won’t be too worried about the lower numbers. It posted quarterly revenue numbers that were up 22% year-on-year, so its business is going fine despite the crazy 2020 we’re all having.
Make better social decisions with advanced IG & FB analytics
 
👀 ICYMI...
Stories you need to know about:
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
Facebook launches cloud games on desktop and Android, but not on iOS
  • Facebook is trying to ban an academic tool for understanding the way political ads are targeted… but NYU refuses to comply, saying it is “perfectly legal and is in the public interest.” [Politico]
  • Facebook and Instagram are updating their policy on nudity in order to help end discrimination of plus-size Black women. [The Guardian]
  • Facebook moderation contractors say they’re discouraged from helping the process improve. [OneZero]
  • Facebook is being sued in England and Wales for allegedly failing to protect users’ data in the Cambridge Analytica case. [BBC News]
  • Instagram will roll out the the ‘paid partnership’ label tool to all users, as part of its efforts to tackle undisclosed paid promotions. [Refinery29]
  • WhatsApp now delivers around 100bn messages per day, up from 50bn in 2014. [TechCrunch]
  • Oculus users are upset with Facebook again, this time over the revelation that if you delete your Facebook account you’ll lose access to all your Oculus content forever. [UploadVR]
  • But the new Oculus Quest 2 saw five times the preorders of the original. [The Verge]
  • Facebook’s pre-election ad period has been hit with unexpected outages, some buyers say. [AdWeek $$$]
Twitter:
Twitter Posts Strong Revenue Result in Q3 as User Growth Slows
TikTok:
TikTok partners with Shopify on social commerce
  • TikTok says it plans to take on 3,000 engineers over the next three years. [BBC News]
And the rest:
LinkedIn Up to 722 Million Members, Continues to See 'Record Levels of Engagement'
  • YouTube TV now has 3m paid subscribers and YouTube Premium has 30m. [9to5Google]
  • Pinterest added 26m more monthly active users in Q3, with a new record total of 442m. [Social Media Today]
  • Twitch faces a fight with the music industry over unlicensed use of copyright-controlled music. [The Verge]
  • True, a social app that promises to ‘protect your privacy,’ exposed private messages and user locations 🤦‍♂️ [TechCrunch]
  • The man behind the Fyre Festival recorded a podcast in prison—and ended up in solitary confinement. [New York Times $$$]
  • Guided meditation is booming on YouTube during the pandemic. [Mashable]
  • UK Police plan to spend £12m building one platform to manage all UK police forces’ social media activity. [The Register]
  • British news sites fell for a hoax Twitter account claiming that retailer Woolworths would be returning next year. It turned out it was set up by a teenager testing their digital marketing skills. [The Guardian]
  • Some messaging apps can leak your data, drain your battery, and more. [Ars Technica]
❓ Question of the week
Here’s your chance to play at being product manager for your favourite social app! Click through to the tweet to see what my followers have already suggested, and leave a reply with your own ideas. 👇
Matt Navarra
If you could add a new button on any social media platform... ?

what would it do https://t.co/nU1VLEr3ty
🔨 Tool of the week
Upstream
🐣 Tweet of the week
McDonald's
it’s always “when is the McRib coming back” and never “how are you doing person who runs the McDonald’s account”
📲 Quick hits
Updates, experiments, and useful info snippets:
  • Facebook has changed its avatar sticker button to a mini-version of your own avatar. [@MattNavarra]
  • The more Facebook ad impressions, the better action intent and ad recall rates… to a point, the company says. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook has a new motion effects feature for photo posts. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook is promoting adoption of its API, which lets brands bypass the browser for cookie-free conversions. [AdAge $$$]
  • Facebook has a ‘Google Doodle’ style animated logo for Halloween. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook has been spotted adding an icon to photos with people tagged in them. Tapping the button opens a shortcut to message them. [@MattNavarra]
  • The Facebook app now includes the Instagram Superzoom camera mode. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook continues to test dark mode on mobile. [@wongmjane]
  • Instagram has announced new live video features. The duration limit for streams has been increased from 60 minutes to four hours, with more updates to come. [The Verge]
  • Instagram’s 'remix’ feature has been spotted in the wild, letting you combine a main feed post with a camera shot in Stories. [@fayscho]
  • Instagram has been spotted splitting the main feed between 'suggested posts’ and 'older posts. [@kwatt]
  • Instagram is working on letting Threads users mute, report or block a user without having to switch to Instagram. [@alex193a]
  • Messenger now offers custom emoji reactions. [@Messenger]
Messenger custom emoji reactions.
Messenger custom emoji reactions.
  • WhatsApp now lets you mute chats forever. The new option replaces the previous ‘one year.’ [9to5Mac]
  • WhatsApp’s iOS beta now features 62 new wallpapers and the ability to set a different wallpaper for each chat. [WABetaInfo]
  • The Oculus Quest 2 has allegedly been jailbroken, meaning it can be used without a Facebook login. [Android Central]
  • Twitter has rolled out its 'Topics’ feature to India. It’s available in English and Hindi. [TechRadar]
  • Twitter has added a button that lets you change the background of text 'fleets’ (Twitter’s Stories-style format that is still in limited availability). [@alex193a]
  • Twitter has offered tips for brands who want to enhance their messaging during the pandemic. [Social Media Today]
  • TikTok now offers iOS 14 widgets for quick access to trending videos, sounds, or hashtags. [9to5Mac]
  • TikTok will add election day resources and live results to its US election guide. [TechCrunch]
  • TikTok has added a 'use sound from last video viewed viewed feature’ and a ‘trending’ stickers view. [@MattNavarra]
  • LinkedIn has launched a new 'Career Explorer’ tool to help job seekers during the pandemic. [CNet]
  • LinkedIn now lets Premium users set up an auto-away message for their messaging inbox. [@MattNavarra]
  • YouTube’s mobile app has new gestures and playback controls. [The Verge]
  • YouTube has rolled out some new tweaks to its playback options. [Social Media Today]
  • YouTube has updated its UI on iOS, including a new ’+’ sign action button in the bottom navigation bar. [@MattNavarra]
  • Some YouTube users now have the option to create a new ‘Short’ in its new app design/layout. [@MattNavarra]
  • YouTube Music is testing renaming 'Your Mix’ to 'My Supermix.’ [9to5Google]
  • YouTube Music is testing new library sorting options on the web. [Android Police]
  • Snapchat’s new lens lets you fake travel with friends in these pandemic times. [CNet]
  • Snapchat’s new Halloween AR lenses utilise full body tracking. [VR Focus]
Snapchat full body tracking. Image via VR Focus.
Snapchat full body tracking. Image via VR Focus.
  • Snapchat is working on a new ‘Timeline’ mode for the camera. [@alex193a]
  • SoundCloud has rolled out its integration with Snapchat and announced a Facebook Stories integration is next to arrive. [AdWeek $$$]
  • Pinterest has added a new iOS widget, letting pinners to feature boards on their iPhone home screen. [Social Media Today]
  • Pinterest has added new presentation, discover, and ad options for retailers. [Social Media Today]
  • Pinterest has launched five new features for merchants. [Search Engine Journal]
  • Telegram now has improved pinned messages, live locations, playlists, and more. [Telegram blog]
  • Apple’s video creation app Clips has new features including ability to record and create videos in different sizes. [The Verge]
  • Tinder’s video chat feature is now rolling out globally. [TechCrunch]
  • Disney+ now lets users share links to content on social media and messaging apps. [Variety]

📖 Weekend reading
How Discord (somewhat accidentally) invented the future of the internet
😳 And finally....
📅 Back next week...
You really just want me to STFU and let you go read something else now…Amirite?*
Totally fair.
Go enjoy your weekend.
— Matt

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