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Geekout Newsletter for Social Media Managers
Issue #67 • View online
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Hello, Geeks!
First off this week… Meet the world’s laziest Instagram scammer 🙄 
  1. Facebook launched its new social ‘Audio Hub’ [LINK]
  2. Instagram Live added a ‘practice mode’ + scheduling features [LINK]
  3. Twitter tests Reddit-style downvote button for tweets with more users [LINK]
  4. Instagram may soon tell you if it’s broken [LINK]
  5. Twitter Spaces wants to pay you to create great shows [LINK]
Weird and random stuff spotted on my travels around the social web this week… Twitter is going to test ads among tweet replies. It wasn’t just me who thought this sounded like an awful idea. However, it’s not all bad as Twitter hinted it may share ad revenue with creators who enable ads in their tweet replies…
Facebook users spotted a weird glitch that made notifications look like they were kissing…Twitter is also testing a controversial new search feature which got dunked on hard… Facebook appears to be struggling to attract new job applicants (I wonder why 🤔😀)… And this why I hate local news websites.
💎 HIDDEN GEM | 💥 Who’s the best UK brand on TikTok today? Read the ‘Top 50 UK Brands On TikTok’ report by TikTok specialists, Nonsensical [VIEW REPORT] #ad
🔥 PRO TIP: How to make customers LOVE your messages [FREE GUIDE] 
🚩 MEME: Why Twitter went crazy with red flag emojis [LINK] 
❤️ DATING: How to use Twitter as a dating app [LINK] 
🙄 WTF: The new social network which gives you 100 posts… For life [LINK]
△ RED LIGHT: Squid Games road sign freaked out UK drivers [LINK]   
Okay… Let’s dive into the biggest stories making headlines this week 👇
— Matt
P.S. Join me later for your weekly Geekout Debrief on Twitter Spaces at 4PM (UK) today (Fri 15 Oct)
We will discuss all the week’s BIG social media hot topics, breaking news, new features, and more. [Get a Reminder]

⚡ Breaking news
This might be the best early Christmas present ever… Facebook is FINALLY making it easier for users to speak to a human to get support.
🚨 Everyone's talking about...
Creators have more options than ever to make money. Every week in this newsletter I seem to mention a new initiative from one of the big platforms that could put cash in the pockets of people who make popular content.
But is this cash explosion just putting more money in the hands of a few stars?
The creator economy was supposed to democratize media, but it turns out that a small portion of creators still reap the most revenue for their work across multiple platforms.
What’s happening now with the creator economy mirrors all of the previous waves of digital media economies built before it via social media, blogging and websites.
New platforms have long offered hope of empowering smaller voices, only to see the top creators reap the most benefits.
It sounds concerning, but as media commentator Simon Owens notes, just because a few people take most of the money doesn’t mean you can’t make a financial success of your output as a creator, and many of those big-earning stars employ teams of staff, helping to spread the wealth around.
The real challenge for creators is control, as their output is beholden to the whims of the platforms they use. But as a thoughtful piece by Li Jin and Katie Parrott explained this week, it could be the current big platforms that ultimately lose as fairer alternatives emerge.
This week has seen Facebook trying to wrestle back control of the narrative after the ‘Facebook Files’ let loose a hellish month time for the company.
While some of these initiative may well have been planned long before, it’s interesting that in the space of one week we saw: Nick Clegg reiterate child safety plans for Instagram like urging users to take a break from the app and nudging them to not look at harmful content (no word on exactly when we’ll see these features appear though); moves to limit news and boost friends in the News Feed and introduce a less politic-heavy feed to 75 more countries; better protections for celebrities, politicians and journalists, and a return of the ‘regulate us, please’ narrative the company likes to spout when things get tough.
After a second outage in the space of a week had some creators questioning their choice of platform, Instagram announced it would soon provide downtime alerts inside its own app. Another creator-friendly move is making clear any limitations an account may have affecting its reach.
It’s all been very positive, user- and society-friendly stuff. But it needs to be. The Economist argued this week that Facebook was near the reputational point of no return, there’s more pressure on child safety from the UK, while media agencies were reportedly finding that staff were uneasy about pitching in Facebook’s upcoming media review (a lucrative deal, if you can get in on it). Oh, and a campaign called How to Stop Facebook kicked off this week, too.
Internally, Facebook is reportedly putting out fires among concerned staff, too. It’s been calming employees, and clamping down on message boards, With the news that at least 10 former members of the Facebook integrity team where whistleblower Frances Haugen worked now work at Twitter, it’s a reminder that unhappy staff in the competitive tech jobs market have plenty of options open to them.
And Haugen herself had a busy week. She’s set a date of 25 October for speaking to the UK Parliament alongside a previous whistleblower. Meanwhile, the Facebook Oversight Board is set to meet her to compare notes.
Still, there’s a question Facebook’s fiercest critics need to keep in mind when attacking Facebook. Is it all a moral panic? Are real dangers being exaggerated in an effort to take down the Facebook behemoth? Haugen and her supporters would argue not, but every overblown story that gets out into the media will just make Facebook more assured in its messaging that it’s all a big fuss with little substance.
One common theme in this newsletter in recent months has been the pressure put on social media companies by authoritarian regimes. How long, I’ve asked, will the likes of Facebook and Twitter comply with rules that only strengthen anti-democratic rulers? Will platforms eventually pull out of certain countries?
Now one has, kind of. As BBC News reports:
Microsoft is shutting down its social network, LinkedIn, in China, saying having to comply with the Chinese state has become increasingly challenging.
It comes after the career-networking site faced questions for blocking the profiles of some journalists…
LinkedIn senior vice-president Mohak Shroff blogged: “We’re facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.”
LinkedIn will remain in China in the form of a jobs site with no social features, so this isn’t a case of the company flat-out opposing China’s authoritarian clamp down on speech, but it does show there is a dam that can break where it’s just not worth the hassle, bad PR, and employee unease in your home market to play along.
Will we see other companies take a similar ‘one foot out’ approach? Anti-free-speech rules in China, Russia, Turkey and India are unpalatable enough that it’s possible.
👀 Must-read of the week
The Moral Panic Engulfing Instagram
🔨 Tool of the week
🤔 Thought for the week
This puts a lot of things in perspective…
Rory Cellan-Jones
Gosh, 15 years ago Google paid $1.65bn for a video sharing platform just 18 months old and with no clear path to profit. Wonder how that turned out…
🔵 Facebook news
All the latest from Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
Revealed: Facebook’s Secret Blacklist of “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations”
  • Instagram has paused two programmes designed to pay cash ‘bonuses’ to creators. Facebook says the programmes will be seasonal and return at a later date. [Insider $$$]
  • Facebook is taking action to combat sales of protected Amazon rainforest land being sold on its Marketplace. [BBC News]
  • Facebook is changing how it counts its users for ad planning purposes. [AdAge]
  • Facebook has captured more than 2,000 hours of first-person video to train next-generation A.I. [The Verge]
  • Facebook Workplace now has 7 million paying subscribers as it turns five years old. [Social Media Today]
  • The UK government faces a legal challenge over its lack of transparency through using WhatsApp rather than more traceable internal communication methods. [BBC News]
  • Facebook has teased a prototype “retina resolution” VR headset. [The Verge]
New features and tests:
  • Facebook has launched a new audio hub for podcasts and other audio content in the US and rolled its Clubhouse-style Live Audio Rooms out more broadly along with the Soundbites feature it announced earlier this year. [TechCrunch]
  • Facebook now offers IM-based support to some creators. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook will run a series of shopping events to boost small businesses in the lead up to Christmas. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook has been spotted testing a threaded posts feature again. [@brucefloyd]
  • Facebook Marketplace has a bunch of new features to mark its fifth birthday. [@alexvoica]
  • Facebook is now showing a ‘Grid layout’ option for Group admins. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook appears to be rolling out its Protect feature to a lot more users. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook has been spotted offering creators a $20 bonus for every fan subscription they enlist. [@Prasanth_beast]
  • You can now view your published posts in Facebook Creator Studio via a ‘Timeline View’. [@MattNavarra
  • Instagram has introduced scheduling and ‘practice mode’ for live video. [TechCrunch]
  • Instagram has added a dedicated Reels tab on hashtag pages. [@iamstake]
  • Instagram is working on the ability to launch music projects via a dedicated feature. [@alex193a]
  • And a music tab could soon appear on Instagram profiles. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram could soon test a version of Live with likes and comments switched off. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is building a new ‘Review Activity’ section in account settings. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram’s forthcoming Fan Club subscriptions feature appears to include fans-only live video. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is working on Chat Heads for its web version. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram seems to be rolling out a new ‘Prompt’ sticker to some users. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram could soon let you create a montage or collage in Stories. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram has built a Stranger Things chat theme. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram has been spotted letting you cross-post Reels to multiple accounts. [@newinsocial]
  • Instagram is working on an ‘Enable Suggestions’ camera setting. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram could soon add ‘Explore Nearby’ on the web. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is still working on sound effects for Reels and is developing three categories for them. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram’s marketing API now supports Reels. [Social Media Today]
  • Messenger has been spotted offering a new Calls tab. [@TechnicalMJTV]
  • WhatsApp has launched encrypted cloud backups for iOS and Android users. [TechCrunch]
  • WhatsApp is working on a mysterious ‘community’ feature. [Android Authority]
  • WhatsApp is developing support for skin tone combinations for the couples emoji. [@WABetaInfo]
  • WhatsApp could soon let you pause voice messages while you record them. [WABetaInfo]
  • WhatsApp might soon let you adjust the size of your chat backup. [Android Police]
🐣 Twitter news
Twitter launches Spark audio creator program to boost Spaces
Insights to give you an edge at work:
  • Gen-Z is a bigger presence on Twitter than you might think. [Adweek $$$]
New features and tests:
  • Twitter is testing ads in replies… but creators might be able to get a share of the revenue if they opt in. [TechCrunch]
  • Twitter’s ‘soft block’ feature has rolled out on the web version of the app. [@TwitterSafety]
  • Twitter’s dedicated Spaces tab is getting a wider rollout, initially to people using iOS in English. [@TwitterSpaces]
  • Twitter carousel ads can now link to multiple landing pages from a single ad. [@MattNavarra]
  • Twitter’s ‘search user’s tweets’ button on profiles is now available for some users. [@MattNavarra]
  • Twitter is testing letting you flag your own images as sensitive when you send them as DMs. [@MattNavarra]
  • Twitter is testing letting you swipe between algorithmic and latest-first feeds. [@TwitterSupport]
  • Twitter could soon let you create a tweet thread when you’re replying to someone else. [@wongmjane]
  • Twitter Blue is gearing up to add new features, judging by app code. [@alex193a]
  • And Twitter Blue’s signup page for Android is nearly ready. [@wongmjane]
  • Twitter is rolling out topic tagging in Spaces to all users in English. [@TwitterSpaces]
  • Twitter has made it easier to invite people to your Space via DM as soon as it starts. [@TwitterSpaces]
  • Twitter Spaces on iOS 15 can now use Apple’s voice isolation mode to reduce background noise. [@geraintd]
  • Ticketed Spaces are rolling out to Android. [@TwitterSpaces]
  • Twitter is working on a new look for the Spaces card in tweets. [@wongmjane]
  • Twitter continues to tweak the preview of the new version of TweetDeck, now with adjustable column widths. [@TweetDeck]
  • Twitter Communities now has admin tools, but they’re not usable quite yet. [@MattNavarra]
  • Twitter has moved the Invite button in Communities to make it easier to find. [@HiCommunities]
  • Twitter for Android now has auto-dark mode. [@TwitterSupport]
  • Twitter might rename ‘following’ for Topics. [@wongmjane]
  • Apple has a new #AppleEvent Twitter hashflag for its event on Monday. [9to5Mac]
🔺 TikTok news
TikTok has removed 81,518,334 hate and harassment videos in the last 3 months
Insights to give you an edge at work:
  • Latching onto Halloween for TikTok activity? The company has shared some engagement trends to help. [Social Media Today]
  • Promoting a car brand on TikTok? There’s a new playbook to help you get the best results. [Social Media Today]
💥 More social media news and updates
  • The UK’s incoming Online Safety Bill will become a ‘tug of war’ as politicians try to influence its exact wording, a former minister has warned. [TechCrunch]
  • And EU plans to regulate big tech are facing similar hurdles in the European Parliament. [Financial Times $$$]
  • The EU plans to force social media companies to hand over detailed data about political ads, according to a leaked internal document. [Politico]
  • Snapchat has partnered with the NBA for the seventh season in a row. [Adweek $$$]
  • Reddit has hired its first chief product officer, a former Google Cloud exec. [TechCrunch]
  • Byte has relaunched as Clash, an app for video creators and their biggest fans. Byte was previously a TikTok rival from a co-founder of Vine. [TechCrunch]
  • Social media is a serious threat for local news outlets, according to a new report. [NiemanLab]
  • One of Pinterest’s co-founders has joined former Apple design guru Jony Ive’s firm. [TechCrunch]
Insights to give you an edge at work:
  • Want to make the most of LinkedIn ads? The company has some tips for you. [Social Media Today]
  • Struggle with inclusive language? LinkedIn has a new guide for brands. [Social Media Today]
New features and tests:
  • YouTube is testing flagging up the most-viewed part of a video in the time scrubber. [9to5Google]
  • Snapchat marked World Mental Health Day with a new ‘Club Unity’ initiative. [Social Media Today]
  • Snapchat could soon let you change your username. [@alex193a]
  • Reddit has launched a gamified polls feature called ‘Predictions’. [TechCrunch]
  • Clubhouse has added a new setting to make live music performances sound better, and made improvements to search. [9to5Mac]
  • Tinder’s new ‘Plus One’ feature can help you find a wedding date. [TechCrunch]
  • Google Search is displaying short videos from the likes of YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook in results on desktop. [Search Engine Roundtable]
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📈 Chart of the week
An illuminating chart from Axios:
Matt Navarra
Countries where government authorities have investigated, arrested or convicted people for their social media posts

View full chart:
📖 Weekend reading
1 Billion TikTok Users Understand What Congress Doesn’t
😳 And finally...
📅 Back next week...
…And that’s your lot for this week you lovely bunch of social media geeks.
Social Media Manager Homework: ✅
Right…I’m heading off to play red light / green light with my kids. I have to use a Nerf gun as using a real gun is frowned upon, apparently. 😄
Goodbye geeks!
— Matt
😮 Get MORE Geekout
This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
Copyright 2021: Matt Navarra Media Ltd
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