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Geekout Newsletter for Social Media Managers
Issue #82 • View online
*Read this newsletter on the web for the best experience*
Hey you! 
Welcome back… First off this week:
…And I need to apologise for insulting you last week (sorry!) 🤦
🔥 GEEKOUT HOT 5
  1. Meta’s new metaverse safety feature has Black Mirror vibes [LINK] 
  2. Meta threatening / not threatening to quit Europe fiasco [LINK 1] [LINK 2] 
  3. Twitter + Reddit may need age verification checks in the UK [LINK] 
  4. YouTube announced a long list of new features for creators [LINK]
  5. TikTok is testing R-rated filters and more to protect younger users [LINK] 
Okay… This is the bit where I brain dump all the other stuff that got my attention this week.
Ready? Let’s do this!:
In no particular order… Twitter’s new ‘Articles’ feature is starting to take shape. Take a look at this, as well as this, and this… LinkedIn is testing a ‘no politics’ filter for your feed… Adidas tweeted an image of 25 pairs of breasts sparking a fairly predictable response (see replies / quote RTs)…
Meta switched from bitching about Apple to hating on Google… The Tinder Swindler had a busy week: Simon Leviev (or whatever he’s calling himself this week) is now banned from all dating apps, but promised to share his side of story, then deleted his Instagram account… Also rumours of Tinder Swindler: The Movie….
__
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Apparently, Tumblr is still a thing.. And Tumblr’s boss popped up on Twitter to remind me of that fact… Reddit launched new Live Audio features (I eyerolled too)… Messenger rolled out new features and FINALLY fixed this annoying voice message limitation… Meta’s Horizons VR World thing continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons (see thisand this)… Twitter’s 2FA service provider was secretly helping governments locate people (WTF, Twitter!)…  
Instagram rolled out a bulk delete feature and a few new account controls… Twitter added audio / video playback speed controls… Cristiano Ronaldo became the first person to hit 400m followers on Instagram
And finally… Ed Zitron has doubts about Mark Zuckerberg. (worth a read 😝)
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WORTH A LOOK… 👀
📰 TIKTOK: 45 journalists and newsrooms worth following on TikTok [VIEW LIST]
😱 INSTAGRAM: Why everyone’s Instagram looks ugly now [SHOW ME]
📈 EMOJIS: The (new) most popular emoji on Twitter [REVEAL] 
💬 LOL: A Reddit thread of famous sayings that are total bullshit [TAKE A LOOK]
🤯 WTF!: This bonkers recruitment story is so 2022 [FULL STORY]
Alrighty then… Let’s dig into the details of the news headlines I’ve geeked out most about this week 👇
— Matt
P.S. Join us for the Geekout Debrief on Twitter Spaces at 8AM PT / 1PM ET / 4PM UK today (Fri 11 Feb). 
Special guest: Axios media reporter Sara Fischer

🚨 Everyone's talking about...
Social VR is having to grow up fast. After numerous recent reports of sexual harassment in its Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues products, Meta is adding something many will argue should have been there from the start: a personal boundary.
As the Verge explains:
The new feature… creates an invisible virtual barrier around avatars, preventing other people from getting too close — although you can apparently still stretch your arm out to give someone a fist-bump or high five.
The boundary system builds on an existing feature that could make users’ hands disappear if they got too close to another avatar… It gives everyone a two-foot radius of virtual personal space, creating the equivalent of four virtual feet between avatars.
You won’t be able to switch off the feature, as it’s designed to establish social norms of personal distance in VR, although Meta says the radius size might become customisable in the future.
But while the boundary should make social VR safer, it’s not entirely safe. The Washington Post wrote this week about how Horizon Worlds has plenty of users who are children, despite the fact that you’re supposed to be at least 18 to take part.
And while badly behaved kids running around can be annoying for adult users, they might also tempt predators to use Horizon Worlds and endanger those children.
Meanwhile, researchers with the Center for Countering Digital Hate published research this week that found frequent cases of racism, misogyny, sexual content and more in Horizon Worlds, often with children present.
NBC News quoted the CEO of Center, who said: “I’m afraid that it’s incredibly dangerous to have kids in that environment… Honestly speaking, I’d be very nervous as a parent about having Mark Zuckerberg’s algorithms babysit my kids.”
Social VR is still in its early stages, but every little bit of ‘metaverse’ hype (look out for a Super Bowl ad from Meta this weekend) nudges more people to try apps like Horizon Worlds. If they’re not entirely safe for mainstream usage, Meta might find its metaverse vision faces more resistance than it would like.
There was much excitement online a few days ago as it was reported that Meta could shut down in Europe if its ability to process Europeans’ data in the US was blocked by EU law.
Some of the company’s critics were particularly gleeful, but in reality it just wasn’t really news. The company has said this before, and the new ‘threat’ was simply included in a list of potential business risks shareholders should be aware of, listed in Meta’s quarterly report late last week.
While Meta’s bombastic, self-defensive blog posts can sometimes be so full of holes they look like Swiss cheese, it was hard to dispute Meta’s plain speaking claim: Meta Is Absolutely Not Threatening to Leave Europe.
But the emphasis there could be on the world ‘threatening’. The company could feasibly be forced to shut down Facebook and Instagram in the EU, but it wouldn’t want to leave all that juicy revenue behind, and it would mean that all its lobbying, and any technical solutions to allow it to process European users’ data within the EU, had come up short. Essentially: it’s highly unlikely to happen.
Still, at least some politicians wouldn’t be crying too much if it did happen.
As sure as the encryption debate will keep coming back, the UK seems doomed to repeat the same ‘keeping children off adult sites’ tussle every few years.
The latest proposals for the upcoming Online Safety bill could see social platforms that allow adult content (so that’s primarily Reddit and Twitter) forced to conduct formal passport or credit card checks on users. As the Guardian reports:
The two sites are among the few mainstream social networks that continue to host large quantities of explicit adult material. Ministers said that social networks “where a considerable quantity of [explicit] material is accessible” will have to conform to the same age verification rules as other commercial [explicit] websites.
This could leave Twitter and Reddit facing a choice of either verifying which British users are over 18 or finding a way to remove adult material from their services in the UK. Neither site currently has substantive age checks to access adult material.
These kinds of checks could stunt user growth in the UK for both services, as well as being a serious annoyance for adults. If you’re a casual Twitter user and you’re suddenly asked to dig out your passport before you can carry on using the service, will you do that or will you just use Facebook more instead?
And if Twitter and Reddit somehow successfully purge all explicit material from UK users’ screens, that’s hardly a great service for adult users who enjoy it legitimately.
I’d say it was such a silly idea that it was bound to be removed from the bill before it becomes law, but the UK has form for doing silly things without properly thinking through the consequences, so watch this space!
Meanwhile, other proposed additions to the Online Safety bill include criminal offences like joining digital pile-ons, sending threatening social media posts, and posting hoax bomb threats.
👀 Must-watch of the week
'Louis Theroux's Forbidden America' delves into the internet's dark impact
💻 Gear of the week
Elgato’s Key Light Mini might be one of the easiest ways to look better on camera
😲 WTF?!
Meta’s new Super Bowl ad is bonkers, but a lot of fun. Click through below to watch the whole ad… 👇
📖 Must read of the week
The Reaction To Instagram Avatars Is A Reminder That Gen Z Doesn’t Own The Internet
🔥 Hot take or deep thought?
📈 Chart of the week
📊 Stat of the week
🌟 New feature of the week
One of many features announced this week by Instagram included a new way to regain access to your locked account. Very handy!
🔵 Meta news
All the latest from Meta brands: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and beyond:
Peter Thiel to Exit Meta’s Board to Support Trump-Aligned Candidates
  • Meta’s market cap fell below $600bn this week (and later rose again). The figure is a threshold for proposed new antitrust legislation. [CNBC]
  • Meta claims Google has an unfair advantage under Apple’s new user tracking rules on iOS. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • Meta is reportedly rethinking its ban on new political ads in the final days of an election ahead of the US midterms. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • More than 75 religious leaders have urged Instagram to completely kill its paused plans for a kids’ app. [CNet]
  • Meta should have stronger anti-doxxing rules, the company’s Oversight Board has recommended. [The Guardian]
  • Meta has been fined £1.5m for failing to keep investigators up-to-date during the UK’s probe into its acquisition of Giphy. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • Cristiano Ronaldo became the first user to hit 400m Instagram followers. [@MattNavarra]
  • Instagram has banned a verified account called @NFT, which was linked to billionaire Mark Cuban. [Rolling Stone $$$]
  • A scam on WhatsApp where fraudsters pretend to be your loved ones has spurred warnings. [The Guardian]
  • Facebook and Instagram are reportedly rife with fake Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Chanel items. [Reuters $$$]
  • Meta has announced a virtual event to show off how it uses A.I. to build the metaverse. [Social Media Today]
New features and tests:
Facebook:
  • Meta is expanding its ‘Redirect Initiative’ to the UK and Pakistan. It helps users find credible information from potentially harmful searches. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook could soon let you share Reels from Facebook to Instagram. [@alex193a]
Instagram:
  • Instagram is rolling out the new ‘Your Activity’ display to all users, enabling improved content management, and more to tie in with Safer Internet Day. [Social Media Today]
  • Instagram will hold a Valentine’s Day live shopping event. [Social Media Today]
  • Instagram is working on the ability to add an already-posted Reel to your profile grid. [@alex193a]
  • And Instagram might soon let you pin a video on your profile’s Reels tab. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram could soon offer invite links for groups. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is testing a ‘request help from friends’ feature to regain access to your account. [Instagram blog]
  • A ‘New’ label has been spotted on newly available audio for Reels on Instagram. [@ItsSachinShah]
  • New slider and yes/no reaction stickers have been spotted in Reels. [@salman_memon]
  • Instagram is testing a new way of showing new follows in the notifications tab. [@hammodoh1]
  • Instagram is working on a web version of its forthcoming ‘Supervision’ feature. [@alex193a]
Messenger:
  • Messenger has launched split payments, vanish mode, and improved voice messaging. [9to5Mac]
WhatsApp:
  • WhatsApp’s new global voice note player is rolling out on desktop. [XDA Developers]
  • WhatsApp’s Windows beta now has dark mode. [XDA Developers]
  • WhatsApp is tweaking the in-app camera on iOS. [WABetainfo]
Quest/VR/devices:
  • Quest’s developer platform could soon offer a ‘body tracking support’ option. [UploadVR]
🐣 Twitter news
Twitter’s new CEO clings to growth targets despite attracting just 6M new users
  • Twitter is phasing out integration with a two-factor auth service that also operated a service to help security services track mobile phones. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • …and Twitter has been criticised for its implementation of native two-factor auth in iOS 15. [9to5Mac]
  • Twitter grew to 217m “monetizable” daily users in Q4, but its revenue fell 18%. [The Verge]
  • Twitter has responded to criticism of a test that lets you DM users from their tweets. It has reminded users they can control who is able to DM them. [@TwitterSupport]
  • Twitter has bought more than a dozen NFTs as a sign of supporting the creator community. [AdWeek]
  • Pro-China Twitter accounts are very busy trying to drown out negative commentary about the country during the Winter Olympics. [Wall Street Journal $$$]
  • Adidas has been praised for an awareness-raising campaign in which it tweeted pictures of 25 pairs of bare breasts. [Adweek]
Insights to give you an edge at work:
  • What do people REALLY want to see from brands on Twitter? The company has shared new research. [Social Media Today
New features and tests:
  • The text editor for Twitter’s apparently forthcoming ‘Articles’ feature has been uncovered. [@wongmjane]
  • …along with the formatting styles you can use. [@nima_owji]
  • …and a ‘Write’ menu item for Articles has also been spotted. [@wongmjane]
  • Super Follow subscribers on iOS can now get notifications for every subscriber-only tweet. [@SuperFollows]
  • Twitter has launched a new selection of custom app icons for Blue subscribers on iOS. [@TwitterBlue]
  • …and Twitter has shared some icon designs that didn’t quite make it. [@TwitterBlue]
  • Twitter’s collaboration feature looks closer to launch. [@alex193a]
  • Twitter is testing more options in playback speed for videos, on Android and the web. [@TwitterSupport]
  • Twitter could soon let you add and edit topic tags for scheduled Spaces. [@alex193a]
  • Twitter is testing a tweaked layout for some tweets. [@wongmjane]
  • Twitter is developing a notification for Quick Promote campaigns on Android. [0]
  • Twitter is working on ‘Coming up’ and ‘Saved’ tabs for the Spaces discovery page. [@nima_owji]
  • Twitter is reworking its monetisation dashboard. [@alex193a]
🔺 TikTok news
TikTok updates its policies with focus on minor and LGBTQ safety, age appropriate content and more
  • TikTok has been criticised for not doing enough to protect young users from predatory advertisers of ADHD treatments. [Media Matters]
  • ‘Drop servicing’ is a growing, and controversial, trend on TikTok. [The Verge]
  • Traditional media has a growing presence on TikTok, with several media companies boasting more than 1m followers each. [Axios]
  • TikTok and the Royal Shakespeare Company have teamed up to offer discounted theatre tickets to young people in the UK. [Sky News]
New features and tests:
  • TikTok now lets you schedule a live event from the Live tab. [@jonah_manzano]
  • TikTok has been spotted testing a new layout when you view your own videos. [@mediocook]
  • TikTok is running a big in-app promo with dating service Bumble, involving a special 🐝 icon. [@MattNavarra]
💥 More social media news and updates
Researchers warn that social media may be ‘fundamentally at odds’ with science
  • A proposed bill in US Congress could force social media companies to change their algorithms. [The Verge]
  • YouTube says it aims to build metaverse experiences into its platform, including immersive gaming videos. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • YouTube ‘guardrails’ on mobile live streaming have spurred conspiracy thories. [Mashable]
  • Pinterest will hold its second annual global advertiser summit on 10 March. [Adweek $$$]
  • A new startup lets users mint NFTs of their social media posts. They gain value as a post goes viral. [TechCrunch]
Insights to give you an edge at work:
  • How are brands using Snapchat lenses for Super Bowl tie-ins? Snap has highlighted some notable examples. [Adweek]
New features and tests:
  • YouTube has revealed a long list of new features coming soon. [The Verge]
  • YouTube videos will get in-app previews in Google’s Messages app on Android. [Android Police]
  • Snapchat has added to ability to add lenses to photos. [@Ken_Schillinger]
  • Snapchat is developing a Voiceover feature. [@alex193a]
  • LinkedIn is testing a ‘no politics’ button in the US. [Input]
  • LinkedIn has a new bell icon on profiles, letting users subscribe to your posts. [@MattNavarra]
  • LinkedIn has launched updates to its Sales Navigator platform. [Search Engine Journal]
  • LinkedIn’s analytics are getting a revamp. [@YasserM86]
  • Microsoft Teams will soon show your LinkedIn profile to other users. [TechRadar]
  • Tumblr has launched a tipjar feature. [TechCrunch]
  • Reddit is rolling out new audio features. [CNet]
  • Discord is testing new features including forums, new moderation tools, and a version of trending topics. [TechCrunch]
  • Twitch might soon let Android users edit their stream schedules. [XDA Developers]
  • Clubhouse is still working on a Room Chat feature. [@alex193a]
  • Signal now lets you keep your conversations after you change your phone number. [9to5Mac]
  • Cameo is expanding to support livestreams, FaceTime calls, and NFTs. [Fast Company]
  • Tinder has launched a ‘blind date’ feature that makes you chat with a user before you can see their profile. [Engadget]
  • The last traces of Google+ will disappear next year when Google kills Currents. [XDA Developers]
🤔 Thought for the week
Twitter
you ever think about Fleets?
same.
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You should advertise in Geekout!
Get in touch: matt@mattnavarra.com
📖 Weekend reading
Facebook Has a Superuser-Supremacy Problem
😳 And finally...
📅 Back next week...
…And youuuurrrr done! 💥
Your head must feel like it just downloaded all of Twitter!
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Right then… Time for me to go get my weekend started!
Goodbye geeks!
— Matt
PS: I will be in Los Angeles this summer.
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_________________
This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
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