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Geekout Newsletter
Issue #13 • View online
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SHARE THIS NEWSLETTER
View this newsletter online and SHARE it with colleagues + friends
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Hello, Geeks…! 👋
First things first… We have a NEW Geekout newsletter sponsor!
When I launched this newsletter a little over three months ago, I had no idea if many people would subscribe. I certainly didn’t expect to receive offers of sponsorship! I’m very thankful to the lovely people at Khoros who took a punt on me and this newsletter by becoming our launch sponsor.
We are now on Geekout Issue #13 and today I’m pleased to welcome Sked Social as Geekout’s new sponsor! Sked Social is an awesome Instagram scheduling and account management tool, and more. Sked Social HQ is based in Australia and the team behind it are some of the loveliest people I know. Some of the world’s most popular and well-known brands use Sked Social to manage their social media presence. I strongly recommend you check it out!
On to something a bit geekier…
A few weeks ago I received a Twitter DM from @nikkastar. She introduced herself as the new head of research at Twitter. She said she wanted to speak to a small group of heavy-users of Twitter to discuss their pet peeves when using the platform and new features we’d love to see them add.
I had lots of ideas, but there are smarter and more creative people that follow me, so I tweeted asking people to tell me what they’d like Twitter to fix or add. I have fed many of their ideas (and my own) back to Nikkia already. If you’re interested to see what ideas my followers had, or if you want to suggest your own, check out this thread AND this tweet response from Nikkia. And no, I don’t want an edit button. Sorry folks.
Right… Let’s dig into all the latest social media news, updates, new features, and more. I spotted a lot of cool stuff this week 😲👇
— Matt
PS: Looking for my secret? Check out my Tip of the Week below.

🚨 Everyone's talking about...
If there’s one word to describe the seemingly never-ending TikTok drama this week, it’s ‘confusing.’ As I hit 'send’ last week, it looked like the app would be banned in the US by Sunday, but Trump gave his tentative approval to the Oracle deal on Saturday, saving TikTok from banishment.
…and that’s where it gets complicated. Confusion reigned all week about whether ByteDance would have to pay $5bn to a Trump-backed education project, whether ByteDance would transfer TikTok’s prized backend tech to Oracle, what it meant for Europe… and even whether ByteDance would have any ownership stake in TikTok Global or not.
As it stands, with the deal not yet signed and sealed, a US app store ban is back on for this Sunday. But after TikTok filed a lawsuit to try stopping the ban, a judge said the US government had to either explain the reason behind it in more detail today, or delay forcing app stores to remove it.
Two steps forward, one step back. TikTok’s future seems as uncertain as it was last week. And the situation has taken its toll. Interim head of the platform, Vanessa Pappas admitted it had made hiring more difficult, and cancelled brand deals had apparently cost the company $10m.
Facebook really isn’t happy about being banned from sending data from the EU to the US for processing —so much so that in a court filing, it suggested it may have to pull its apps from the EU as a result.
Facebook has since denied it plans to pull out of the EU, but given its services would likely need to be significantly re-engineered to comply with the ban, it’s understandable that they made the point. Unless the Irish Data Protection Commissioner wants to try to get Facebook outright banned across the EU, someone is going to have to back down here, and it’s hard to see how it can reasonably be Facebook.
You might have spotted a few tweets that went viral last weekend, suggesting that Twitter’s A.I. was racist. The tech, which picks what it thinks is the most interesting part of an image to use in its preview in your feed, selected a white person’s face over a Black person’s face in experiment after experiment.
Racism in A.I. is a serious problem, not only because… well, it’s racist, but also because when tech like this gets put into use, it highlights just how non-diverse the tech industry is. Twitter says it had previously tested this A.I. for bias but it had more work to do, as The Verge reports:
Liz Kelley of the Twitter communications team tweeted Sunday that the company had tested for bias but hadn’t found evidence of racial or gender bias in its testing. “It’s clear that we’ve got more analysis to do,” Kelley tweeted. “We’ll open source our work so others can review and replicate.”
Moving fast and having open dialogue with users is the best way to move forward in a situation like this, so it’s good to see Twitter take that approach. Let’s hope we hear back about their next steps soon.
Sked Social: The #1 Instagram Scheduler and Stories Scheduling Tool
 
👀 ICYMI...
Stories you need to know about:
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
Facebook's Removing its Restrictions on Text Content in Facebook Ad Images
  • Facebook will (finally) launch its Oversight Board next month, but it’s unlikely to rule on anything until after the US election. [The Guardian]
  • However… A rival group has launched an unofficial oversight board. Called (confusingly) The Real Facebook Oversight Board, it includes journalist Carole Cadwalladr, UK politician Damian Collins, and other vocal Facebook critics. [NBC News]
  • Facebook’s Crowdtangle isn’t up to the job of tracking voter misinformation, a new report states. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • Facebook will let people claim ownership of images and issue takedown requests, making stealing other people’s images for use on social media much harder. [The Verge]
  • Facebook is prepared to take extreme measures if the US election becomes chaotic. This may include restricting users, but Nick Clegg says there are other “break glass” options if needed. [Financial Times $$$]
  • Facebook “took a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook” in making its service as addictive as possible, a former exec has said. Now he’s worried it will help spur a new American civil war. [Business Insider $$$]
  • Facebook wants people to try to fool its A.I. [MIT Technology Review]
  • Sir David Attenborough became the fastest Instagram user to reach 1 million followers this week. It took him just 4 hours, breaking Jennifer Aniston’s record by more than an hour. [Guinness World Records]
Twitter:
Twitter plans to bring prompts to ‘read before you retweet’ to all users
  • Twitter has shared details of improved internal security as it aims to stop a repeat of July’s mega-hack. [Twitter blog]
  • Twitter made a big push this week to get US citizens to register to vote. [USA Today]
TikTok:
TikTok removed nearly 105 million videos for nudity and other policy violations in the first half of 2020
  • Oracle reportedly held initial discussions with the UK government about protecting British TikTok users’ data (assuming the US deal goes ahead). [The Information $$$]
  • TikTok has asked its rivals to collaborate with it on the swift removal of content depicting self-harm and suicide. [BBC News]
  • TikTok has banned ads for fasting apps and will restrict ads promoting “negative body image.” [CNBC]
  • The ‘Benadryl challenge’ on TikTok is dangerous, the US Food & Drug Administration warned. It says it has asked TikTok to stop promoting the trend. [CNN]
And the rest:
Telepath is a new, kinder social network. But is the internet ready to be nice?
  • YouTube is bringing back human moderators after its automated systems turned out to be too strict. [The Verge]
  • YouTube has expanded its fact-checking feature for searches to the UK and Germany. [CNBC]
  • LinkedIn has launched a new look with support for Zoom, Blue Jeans, and Teams video calls, and Stories rolling out in the US and Canada with more countries to follow. [TechCrunch]
  • Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter will agree common definitions for types of hateful content, as advertisers push for more work to efforts to stop their brands appearing alongside it. [NBC News]
  • More than 3m Americans have registered to vote via social media. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat all offer the service. [Axios]
  • Snapchat has partnered with big stars like Snoop Dogg and Arnold Schwarzenegger to encourage voter registration. [Variety]
  • Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft have been urged to stop advertising to under-18s. This comes in an open letter signed by UK politicians, academics and children’s-rights advocates. [BBC News]
  • An online investigations company bases a lot of its work on fake accounts to get around privacy restrictions on LinkedIn and Facebook, a leaked manual says. [Vice]
  • Pinterest reportedly broke its daily download record as people looked for iOS 14 customisation inspiration. [TechCrunch]
  • Hootsuite has cancelled a controversial US government contract. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has face intense criticism in recent years, and some Hootsuite employees were unhappy about doing business with it. [TechCrunch]
  • 217 new emojis will roll out to apps and devices next year. [Emojipedia]
🐣 Tweet of the week
UK Parliament grilled TikTok this week. It was… interesting:
Mark Scott
TikTok exec counters by saying people like Andrew Lloyd Webber is on platform.

UK lawmaker: "Does he push his tushy?"

TikTok exec: "No, I don't believe he pushes his tushy"

Lord help me.
🌟 Tip of the week
Matthew Kobach (but just got his pink Fast hoodie)
When I interviewed my first CEO, I didn’t know what I was doing

When I went on my first podcast, I didn’t know what I was doing

When I taught my first college class, I didn’t know what I was doing

You never know what you’re doing until you do it
So. I’ve got a secret to tell you….
When I became director of social media at The Next Web, they thought I knew what I was doing. Truth is, I made it up as I went along. (Ssshh! Don’t tell my former boss @Boris!).
When I decided to launch my own podcast… Same. I had no clue how to do it, so I had to just get on with and bluff that I knew what I was doing.
This newsletter? I’ve never created a newsletter from scratch before. I had to learn from my mistakes and not be afraid to ask people smarter than me for their help, advice, or support.
Even in my first job in social media for the UK Government back in 2009… I had no experience or qualifications in social media. I blagged it. I’m not joking.
My advice? Just f–king do it! Have faith in yourself. Take a deep breath and make it happen.
And if all else fails… Do what I did. Fake it till you make it. 😉
🔨 Tool of the week
Pikaso
📲 Quick hits
Updates, experiments, and useful info snippets:
  • Facebook has been spotted testing a carousel of suggested profiles to follow. [@riodevale]
  • Facebook now shows hashtag usage metrics in-line as you type, when you create a new post. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook has started showing engagement metrics for individual posts on some Groups. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook has published a new guide for video creators. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook has published a video on how to make best use of the new video insights in Creator Studio. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook is bringing back an improved Q&A feature for Groups. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook has updated Tuned, its experimental app for couples, with new features to help you feel closer to your significant other. [Facebook NPE blog]
  • Facebook is rolling out a hashtag challenge feature to Groups. Group members can create a new challenge by adding a hashtag ending with the word ‘challenge’ to their post. [@MattNavarra]
  • Instagram has updated Reels with easier editing and support for longer videos. [TechCrunch]
Updated Reels. Credit: Instagram
Updated Reels. Credit: Instagram
  • Instagram is building a messaging API to help brands manage their DMs via third party tools. [Business Insider $$$]
  • Instagram says it has fixed a bug that would allow hackers take over targets’ smartphones and spy on them. [Business Insider $$$]
  • Instagram is working on auto-advancing Reels posts, to get your to watch more of them. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is experimenting with a bigger Stories bar. [@MattNavarra]
  • Instagram launched a new sticker in its voter registration push. Using it added you to a voter registration story on Tuesday. [@InstagramComms]
  • Instagram is working on the option to select different app icon designs, including its original designs from a decade ago. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is asking some users to rate how useful they find the Stories they see. [@MattNavarra]
  • Instagram working on collaboration controls for interactive AR effects. [@alex193a]
  • WhatsApp is closer to launching a feature that lets you easily access the same account on up to four devices. [Android Authority]
  • WhatsApp is testing self-destructing photos. These images completely disappear from the chat after they’re viewed. [WABetaInfo]
  • WhatsApp is testing updated business features: merged voice and video call buttons, and a catalogue shortcut for businesses with at least one product listed. [WABetaInfo]
  • Twitter has confirmed it’s to test voice messaging in DMs, as I spotted a couple of weeks ago. The test will begin in Brazil. [The Verge]
  • And I have some screenshots of what Twitter voice messaging looks like. [@MattNavarra]
The audio DM interface being tested by Twitter.
The audio DM interface being tested by Twitter.
  • Twitter went all-in on a Covid-19 masks campaign. With a modified profile and custom emoji reactions. [@MattNavarra]
  • Twitter has rolled out its new share menu to all iOS users. [@TwitterSupport]
  • Twitter appears to have developed a screenshot detector, with an eye on privacy of DMs. [@MattNavarra]
  • A screenshot has emerged of the ‘Audio Spaces’ feature Twitter appears to be working on. [@alex193a]
  • Twitter seems to be working on an 'ouch’ reaction for tweets. [@alex19a]
  • TikTok is testing Twitter account integration on profiles. [@MattNavarra]
  • YouTube is going to use AI tech to auto age-restrict more videos. [The Verge]
  • YouTube Music is rolling out lyrics on its web client to more users. [Android Police]
  • LinkedIn will share new features with Premium subscribers as an extra perk. [@MattNavarra]
  • LinkedIn is working on Twitter-style controls for who can reply to posts. [@alex193a]
  • Pinterest has launched a new Story Pins format in beta. [TechCrunch]
  • Pinterest has launched a new holiday hub and marketing guide to assist with holiday campaigns. [Social Media Today]
  • Reddit has launched new brand safety options, helping advertisers reach more users on the platform. [AdWeek $$$]
  • Spotify is making its own podcasts more interactive with a new polls feature. [TechCrunch]

📖 Weekend reading
Facebook leaks show Mark Zuckerberg defending his decisions to angry employees
😳 And finally....
Matt Navarra
Social media manager bingo - Round II!

How many will you circle today? 😆

- created by @ambpersand https://t.co/daqgA8mJu0
📅 Back next week...
….And that’s a wrap!
You are fully updated on social for another week. ✅
If you found this newsletter useful, please FORWARD IT to other social media geeks / work colleagues / friends… Or maybe just post a tweet about it and share the link? 🙏
Now go have an awesome weekend!
Goodbye geeks 😎
— Matt
❤️

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

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