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Hello, geeks! Sick of Black Friday junk clogging up your inbox yet :) So…. Twitter has given us an up
Geekout Newsletter
Issue #22 • View online
Hello, geeks!
Sick of Black Friday junk clogging up your inbox yet :)
So…. Twitter has given us an update on its plans for verified accounts (blue ticks). It probably won’t surprise you to hear my Twitter DMs and @mentions quickly filled up with people asking me to help them get verified…again! The answer is still…No! 😝
In all seriousness, I’m pleased to see Twitter inviting its users to review and comment on a new draft of its verification policy. However, I do wonder if it will change people’s perceptions of what having a blue tick means, and the debates about why someone is or is not verified. Whenever you designate a special account status to a limited proportion of users, the battle between those with it vs. those without will rage on.
This new draft verification policy does attempt to clarify why someone might qualify for verification based on a number of specific categories, yet it has included a catch-all type ‘other notable persons’ reason which will leave a big grey area full of subjectiveness.
It was interesting to read Twitter’s @kayvz (Head of Product) comment about the possibility of new account types and labels related to verification. 🤔 Do you think Twitter should open up verification to more users, or do you think they should ditch verification completely? Let me know in a tweet? More on verification below.
Social media managers, rejoice! This week’s hidden gem is only a very small change to a well-known tool, but it will make a lot of you very happy 😍
A quick update on my rant last week about TikTok’s seemingly deceptive and repetitive “[tiktok user] has just posted a new video!” notifications. TikTok contacted me and told me “…the product team is actively investigating this and we should have more substantial information to share over the next few weeks…”. Watch this space for updates.
Finally, here are a few FREE things I want to share which are most worthy of your attention this week:

— Matt

🚨 Everyone's talking about...
After a long break, Twitter’s almost ready to start handing out blue checkmark badges again. Account verification never completely stopped, but the official process was put on ice while the company redesigned it.
The new rules seem well thought through, unlike the previous confusing mess of a system where some people could get verified easily while others without the right contacts inside the company were knocked back without explanation.
At first, Twitter will be focusing on accounts relating to: government officials; companies, brands and nonprofit organisations; news; entertainment; sports; and activists, organisers and other influential individuals. Accounts must also be active and ‘notable,’ which may result in some already verified, but now inactive, accounts being stripped of their badges.
You can argue whether these rules are right or not, but it’s good that Twitter finally has some clear communication around who gets a checkmark. You can give your feedback to Twitter until 8 December.
Intriguingly, Twitter says that even if you can’t get verified, there may be other ways to label your account. As TechCrunch reports: “Twitter says it’s working on other features that will help to better distinguish accounts on its platform. Also in 2021, the company will introduce new account types and labels that will help Twitter users identify themselves on their profiles.” I’m looking forward to hearing more about what these might be.
TikTok might have once drawn inspiration from Snapchat, but now the reverse has happened. Snapchat’s new TikTok-style feature Spotlight has led to a bunch of people pointing out how all the big social media apps are now essentially the same.
This blatant copying is the norm now, so we should get used to it, argues David Pierce at Protocol: “There are surely more features to invent, new platforms to copy and new tools to build for people to be creative online. But what works well will immediately be everywhere.”
But tech companies will still have ways to compete for our attention, as Sara Fischer writes for Axios: “Tech platforms used to focus on ways to create wildly different products to attract audiences. Today, they all have similar features, and instead differentiate themselves with their philosophies, values and use cases.”
We’re all used to see the lists of the most-shared stories on Facebook being dominated by relatively extreme political news sites that often trade in disinformation. But this month, Facebook experimented with prioritising a very different set of news sources.
Suddenly, ‘high-quality’ outlets like the CNN, The New York Times, and NPR replaced the likes of Breitbart and Occupy Democrats in Americans’ News Feeds.
As the NYT reports:
It was a vision of what a calmer, less divisive Facebook might look like. Some employees argued the change should become permanent, even if it was unclear how that might affect the amount of time people spent on Facebook. In an employee meeting the week after the election, workers asked whether the “nicer news feed” could stay, said two people who attended.
But nice, calm feeds probably drive less engagement, and they also annoy conservatives who think of such a change as 'censorship’ against their views. The revised algorithm was gone within days.
This is a good example of how Facebook is caught up trying to juggle lots of different priorities related to its own growth, its political standing, and the good of society as a whole.
Many would say it should start putting the good of society first. And that would mean it would need to decide what it thinks is good for society, something Mark Zuckerberg may well be reluctant to do.
Transform your social media marketing
 
👀 ICYMI...
Stories you need to know about:
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
Facebook Ads Could Be Reaching Saturation Point
  • Non-profit organisations say Facebook doesn’t give many of them enough support. [Wired]
  • Facebook is offering millions of dollars in refunds to advertisers after it overstated performance of campaigns. [AdAge $$$]
  • Facebook allowed thousands of ads for dodgy Covid-19 cures to run, until a UK regulator stepped in. [Financial Times $$$]
  • Facebook will give the official presidential accounts to Biden, even if Trump doesn’t officially concede. [The Independent]
  • Instagram Threads hit number one in the US Apple App Store, and TikTok is partly responsible. [Platformer]
  • Instagram now gives advertisers more control over paid influencer content, letting them sign off, and even post, videos. [AdAge $$$]
  • Sir David Attenborough has quit Instagram after amassing 6.2m followers in just two months. [CNN]
  • Mark Zuckerberg is the subject of a deepfake ‘Eminem’ diss track. [UniLad]
Twitter:
A bug meant Twitter Fleets could still be seen after they disappeared
  • Dutch police are investigating the alleged ‘hack’ of Trump’s Twitter account by a security researcher. Many people believe it was a hoax. [BBC News]
TikTok:
TikTok Gets 7-Day Deadline Extension as U.S. Reviews Revised Proposal Amid App-Ban Threat
  • ByteDance reportedly engineered the ‘grass roots’ legal fight to keep TikTok active in the US. [Wall Street Journal $$$]
  • TikTok has its first 100m-follower star. Charli D'Amelio reached the milestone this week. [The Verge]
  • That’s despite her losing 1m followers after one of her videos drew a backlash from fans. [New York Post]
  • Apple is now using TikTok, with influencer videos to promote the iPhone 12 Mini. [9to5Mac]
And the rest:
New UK tech regulator to limit power of Google and Facebook
  • Push notifications do not drive phone addiction, a study has found. [BBC News]
  • The EU is making the latest moves that may result in a ban for end-to-end encryption in apps like WhatsApp. Spies and law enforcement have been pushing for this for years. [CNBC]
  • Some of the big names defecting to Parler are actually still very active on mainstream social platforms. [Washington Post $$$]
  • The tragic Beirut explosion in August has been digitally reconstructed by researchers using social media data. [Gizmodo]
  • An artist created a ‘painting’ of an eye using only emojis on Snapchat. [BreakingNews.ie]
❓ Question of the week
This Twitter thread is full of top social media managers sharing genius (and sometimes humorous) lesser-known tips, tools, and tricks to level-up your social game.
Check it out and share your own hidden gems 👇
Matt Navarra
Social media managers...

What's your favorite little social media tool or trick others may not know about?
🔨 Tool of the week
Screenity
🐣 Tweet of the week
📲 Quick hits
Updates, experiments, and useful info snippets:
  • Facebook has launched a new tool called Drives, to help Americans donate to holiday charity drives. Instagram will soon get a similar feature [TechCrunch]
  • Facebook is rolling out its ‘New Pages Experience’ to more page admins. [@MattNavarra]
  • Instagram has rolled out the FAQ feature to more users. [@MattNavarra]
  • Instagram is working on a Color Filter camera for Stories. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is working on an animated message effects feature. [@MattNavarra]
  • Twitter is rolling out 'suggested topic tweets’ to introduce you to more topics you might like to follow. [@TwitterSupport]
  • Twitter will now warn you when you 'like’ a tweet with a fact-check label. [Mashable]
  • …it may soon warn you when you hit 'Share’ too. [@wongmjane]
  • Twitter is working on ways of helping users discover content and users. [@wongmjane]
  • TweetDeck for Mac now runs natively on the new M1 chip Macs. [9to5Mac]
Facebook's new Drives feature. Image credit: Facebook
Facebook's new Drives feature. Image credit: Facebook
  • Twitter’s new share sheet has now rolled out to all on Android. [@TwitterSupport]
  • TikTok is adding a warning if a video might trigger epileptic seizures. [The Verge]
  • TikTok now shows analytics for live streams. [@MattNavarra]
  • TikTok has launched a ‘holiday playbook’ for small businesses. [Social Media Today]
  • TikTok has revamped its support pages. [TikTok Support]
  • TikTok has partnered with the Elton John AIDS Foundation for World AIDS Days next week. [Variety]
  • YouTube is testing automated chapter creation to help creators and viewers alike. [9to5Google]
  • YouTube’s Shorts format is now available in the UK. [@MattNavarra]
  • LinkedIn has revealed how its ads auction algorithm works. [AdWeek $$$]
  • Roblox is hosting a Ready Player Two treasure hunt inside its own virtual universe. [The Verge]
📖 Weekend reading
Do These A.I.-Created Fake People Look Real to You?
😳 And finally....
Infinite Bad Guy
📅 Back next week...
Class dismissed!
You’re all learned up for today.
It’s Black Friday! Go spend money on that thing you really want but can’t really afford :)
BUT before you go…
Every tweet or share of this newsletter helps me keep it FREE for you.
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You’re awesome.
Goodbye, geeks!

— Matt
❤️

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