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Geekout Newsletter
Issue #63 • View online
*Read this newsletter on the web for the best experience*
Hello, Geeks!
To kick things off this week, I have some great news!
Facebook has given social media managers an early Christmas present… Work accounts!
🔥 GEEKOUT HOT 5
  1. 🤓 YouTube boss answered FAQs about its ‘Recommendations’ algorithm 
  2. 👀 A sneak peek at the 112 NEW emojis coming soon 
  3. ❤️ Instagram is testing a ‘Favorites’ feature 
  4. 🗣 YouTube launched a long-overdue translate comments feature 
  5. 📱 Pinterest spotted testing a TikTok-style ‘Watch’ feed 
I stumbled across a lot of fun (and weird) stuff this week. Here are a few more things I spotted as I bounced around the interwebs… Apple mentioned Geekout in its iPhone 13 launch (kinda)…Instagram spotted running a cringy ad on TikTok… WhatsApp made me very happy with this new voice notes feature.
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💎 HIDDEN GEM | Do Instagram’s Reels Perform Better Than TikToks?
If you want to reach people who don’t already follow you, which format is better: Reels or TikTok? Hootsuite’s social media geeks ran an experiment to find out. [View Experiment Results]
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NEW! Geekout on Twitter Communities [Invites Available]
Twitter recently launched its new ‘Communities’ feature, and Geekout has early access to test it out.
Geekout’s community already has 200+ members including Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, as well as lots of familiar faces from my Geekout Group on Facebook.
Right now it is invite-only and is limited to iOS users for now. You can find out more about Twitter Communities here.  
Want a Twitter Communities Invite?
- Want an invite to check out Geekout on Twitter Communities?
- I will invite the first 50 people who tweet about my Geekout Newsletter. 
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WORTH A LOOK…
Okay… Enough of fun stuff… Let’s get down to business with analysis of this week’s most talked about social media news. 👇
— Matt
P.S. Join us later for the Geekout Debrief on Twitter Spaces at 4PM (UK) today (Fri 17 Sept)
We will discuss all the week’s social media news, new features, and talking points.

🚨 Everyone's talking about...
If Facebook thought it must have already had enough bad press for one year, the Wall Street Journal had other plans. This week it began a series of reports based on leaked documents from within the company… and it wasn’t pretty.
So far, the ‘Facebook Files’ series has uncovered:
  • how Mark Zuckerberg resisted changes that would have made Facebook a less divisive place after a change intended to fix the problem made it worse
  • how Instagram knows it’s a toxic place for many teenage girls, and has kept the research secret while continuing plans for a kids’ version of the app
  • how it has a different moderation system for a vast list of ‘VIPs’, seemingly allowing them to get away with abusing Facebook’s rules
  • how it is failing to respond properly to evidence its platform supports human trafficking
Facebook has responded as defensively as you’d expect, saying that research into Instagram’s problems help it improve and that it wants to be more transparent about its findings in the future. And it says the ‘Cross Check’ system for moderating VIPs was no secret and is nothing more than a second pair of eyes on a moderation decision.
But the Facebook Files series exposes a theme within Facebook: a problem arises, people within the company raise the alarm, and then the company keeps the problem secret to avoid bad publicity while taking a path that maximises growth and revenue over what’s best for users or society. It’s what the Washington Post’s Will Oremus calls “the Facebook circle of life.”
The Facebook Files wasn’t the only controversy Facebook has had to deal with over the past week. We also learned that academic research into Facebook’s misinformation problem has been spoiled because the company gave researchers incomplete data.
Facebook employs plenty of passionate people who want to build the best products for their users while not harming society. But time and again we see the company’s organisational rot come to the surface.
This conversation between former Facebook exec Alex Stamos and journalist Mike Isaac sums it up: the company is structured to reward business growth over everything else. It repeatedly seems like anything that threatens the bonuses and promotion prospects of gatekeepers within the company simply cannot be tolerated.
The fallout from the Wall Street Journal’s revelations are only just beginning, so don’t expect any of this to go away yet. Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have their eyes on Instagram with threats of fines in the UK, and by the sound of it calls for it to abandon the Kids app in the US (which helps explain a new job vacancy at the company).
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal may well have more revelations to come.
As Vox puts it, “it’s getting harder for people to believe that Facebook is a net good for society”.
Ultimately, this is Mark Zuckerberg’s problem to solve. It’s up to him to decide if Facebook can be a greater force for good in the world, or just a money-making machine that brushes its messes under the carpet to keep up appearances when it absolutely has to.
What is Instagram? Is it a company operating under the Facebook umbrella, or is it simply another part of Facebook that happens to focus on a different app? That’s a subtle distinction, but one the company seems to be wrestling with.
As Wired reports, quoting a former employee using the pseudonym Jason:
“Initially, Facebook’s fear was that Instagram was becoming more of a force than Facebook. So there was a real jealousy because Instagram was seen as cool and Facebook was not,” he says.
Jason claims that Facebook’s paranoia resulted in a “self-imposed dominance” on the other apps that it owns….
This enforced closeness hasn’t always been welcomed by Instagram, particularly as Facebook began to become more associated with older users, disinformation and online radicalisation. “If you look at the differences between the ways in which Instagram and Facebook are perceived, one of the great fears that Instagram had was its connection to Facebook,” says Kevin, another former employee who left Instagram earlier this year.
This ‘identity crisis’ is nothing new to close watchers of the company, but it’s interesting to see that it causes friction internally at the company, too.
Instagram increasingly exists, as the article puts it, to ”[solve] a business problem for Facebook.“ But if it loses its soul and unique identity in the process, users might not be inclined to stick around.
TikTok’s rise has come so fast over the past couple of years that it’s so far avoided a lot of the scrutiny its rivals face. Aside from the dramatic, rushed, and ultimately failed Trump threat to ban TikTok, investigations into exactly what the company does behind the scenes have been slow to emerge.
Now, as TikTok falls under a wider investigation into Chinese companies by the Biden administration in the US, Ireland’s data protection commissioner is probing a couple of important questions about TikTok: how it handles kids’ data, and what data it sends to its parent company in China.
TikTok insists it has done nothing wrong and will co-operate with the investigation, but whatever the Irish team uncovers, it should help clear up whether or not the worries many people have about the app are justified. How much are fears about TikTok legitimate, and how much are they fuelled by Sinophobia?
🤦‍♂️ Fail of the week
Instagram chief faces backlash after awkward comparison between cars and social media safety
💬 You can quote me on that
When I’m quoted in the media, you’ll find it here…
What Does Facebook Mean When It Says It Supports “Internet Regulations”?
👀 ICYMI...
Stories you need to know about:
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
Facebook will treat coordinated campaigns using real accounts like troll farms
  • Facebook has revamped its business tools, including a new file manager, email marketing tools, ‘work accounts’ so you don’t have to link your personal account to work activity, and more. [TechCrunch]
  • We got a glimpse of Facebook’s future hardware plans thanks for a recently granted patent. [Patently Apple]
  • Facebook is promoting its video ads as being great for brand safety. [AdAge]
  • Facebook is expanding the information it offers users about the climate crisis. [CNet]
  • But activists say climate misinformation is still rife on the platform. [The Verge]
  • Facebook has been condemned for ‘abortion pill reversal’ ads. [The Guardian]
  • WhatsApp’s boss has spoken candidly about the rocky year the company has had. [The Verge]
  • Facebook says it will buy $100 million worth of unpaid invoices from 30,000 small businesses owned by women and minorities. [CNBC]
  • Instagram still refuses to make an iPad app any time soon. [9to5Mac]
Twitter:
Twitter Super Follows has generated only around $6K+ in its first two weeks
  • Twitter has reopened its verification programme. Again. [The Verge]
TikTok:
TikTok is hiding a viral challenge that has kids stealing their school’s soap dispensers
  • TikTok and Unilad have partnered to showcase young artists. [Campaign $$$]
And the rest…
LinkedIn launches a $25M fund for creators, will test Clubhouse-style audio feature in coming weeks
  • Twitch is suing two users who it alleges orchestrated ‘hate raids’ against streamers. [TubeFilter]
  • And Twitch is cracking down on people who request bad-faith subscription chargebacks. [TubeFilter]
  • Clubhouse has hired its first head of news, to help it build relationships with publishers. [TechCrunch]
  • Telegram increasingly harbours cybercriminals, according to a new report. [Engadget]
  • Influencers in Germany must label paid posts as ads, a court has ruled. [Reuters $$$]
  • Discord is valued at $15bn following a new funding round. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • Reddit’s ad revenue could double to at least $350m this year. [The Information $$$]
  • London’s main police chief has kept up the drumbeat of attacks on end-to-end encryption. [9to5Mac]
  • YouTube says it’s a bigger business than Netflix. [TubeFilter]
  • YouTube is forcing another Discord bot offline. Rythm lets users play music from YouTube on Discord. [The Verge]
👨‍🏫 Pro-tip of the week
Matt Navarra
How to unlock the hidden Papyrus font in Instagram Stories:

1. Open Instagram Stories and record/snap/upload your image

2. Tap the text button at the top (the one in the circle that reads Aa)

3. Scroll across to the Comic Sans font

4. Type 'Papyrus'

https://t.co/K2V09ejPPo
📈 Chart of the week
Tap through to see the full chart 👇
💲 Advertise in Geekout
Did you know…
  • Geekout has 13,000+ subscribers.
  • Geekout subscribers manage social media for the world’s biggest brands including Apple, Amazon, BBC, Edelman, Red Bull, Twitter, McDonalds, and more.
  • Geekout has an industry-beating open rate of 51% and a 30% click rate!
Want to advertise in Geekout? 
Get in touch: matt@mattnavarra.com
🌟 New feature of the week
WhatsApp developing transcriptions to tame chaotic voice notes
🔍 Insights
Social media data, insights and reports to give you an edge at work:
  • Planning holiday season marketing on Instagram? The company has a new guide to help. [Social Media Today]
  • Want to make it as a creator on YouTube? Check out the company’s first podcast series. [Social Media Today]
  • Want to understand YouTube’s recommendation algorithm? The company has answered popular questions. [Social Media Today]
📲 Quick hits
Updates, experiments, and useful info snippets:
  • Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms will next year let you make Zoom calls in VR. [The Verge]
  • Facebook is rolling out the ability to tap ‘x’ on posts to see fewer posts like them in the future. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook now does more automated ad targeting to help counter the problems caused by Apple’s tracking changes in iOS. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook is rolling out its Podcasts feature for Pages to more users. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook now lets more businesses offer a tighter integration with Messenger for their customers. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook has integrated Vimeo Create into its Business Suite. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook has updated its Graph and Marketing APIs. [Facebook for Developers]
  • Instagram has launched a new map search feature for businesses in Australia and New Zealand. [Social Media Today]
Instargram's map search view.
Instargram's map search view.
  • Instagram is working on something called ‘Headmojis’. [@alex913a]
  • Instagram is testing a ‘select broadcast audience’ feature for livestreams. [@MattNavarra]
  • Instagram is still developing a fan subscriptions feature. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram might move the Direct button back to the bottom bar. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is working on a way to convert Stories into a montage for Reels. [@alex193a]
  • And Instagram could soon let you convert Highlights to Reels, too. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is working on an ‘unaswered’ filter for the messages inbox. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram has been spotted offering a separate area for Reels when you search for hashtags. [@SMTSsocial]
  • Instagram is still developing ‘Favorites’ and new details have emerged. [@alex193a]
  • WhatsApp will soon let you backup your chats with encryption. [ZD Net]
End-to-end encrypted WhatsApp backups.
End-to-end encrypted WhatsApp backups.
  • WhatsApp is testing an in-app business directory in Brazil. [Reuters $$$]
  • Oculus Quest will soon alert you when someone enters your play area. [Road to VR]
  • Oculus ‘Quest Pro’ face and eye tracking references have been spotted in the Quest firmware. [UploadVR]
  • Twitter is working on a playback speed option for videos. [@alex193a]
  • Twitter is developing the ability for images to load in lower quality if there is a problem with network speed. It seems you will be able to manually load a high-quality version. [@alex193a]
  • Twitter has expanded Ticketed Spaces and professional profiles to more users. [Social Media Today]
  • Twitter Topics have a new look. [@MattNavarra]
  • Twitter built a special ‘like’ animation for Apple’s event this week. [MacRumors]
  • Twitter may soon let you sort replies to tweets. [@nima_owji]
  • Twitter has a mysterious ‘#SpacesSuperHost’ hashflag. [@wongmjane]
  • Twitter is still working on a new media composer featuring all the former fleets features. [@alex193a]
  • TikTok has added warnings to search results for ‘distressing’ content. [Engadget]
  • TikTok UK is launching a new Transparency Forum event series. [@MattNavarra]
  • YouTube has added traffic and revenue data to its mobile analytics. [Search Engine Journal]
  • YouTube can now show video descriptions in landscape mode. [TestingCatalog]
  • YouTube has expanded its merchandise listings to more regions. [Social Media Today]
  • LinkedIn is rolling out dark mode globally. [CNet]
  • LinkedIn now lets Pages post articles. [Adweek $$$]
  • Reddit has released a bunch of updates, including the ability to opt out of having followers. [Reddit]
  • Reddit has updated its ad platform with the introduction of bid recommendations. [Social Media Today]
  • Pinterest’s shopping features have been expanded to Austria, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland. [Adweek $$$]
  • Snapchat is working on a quick chat widget for Android. [@alex193a]
  • Snapchat now lets you wrap up l'Arc de Triomphe, thanks to a new lens. [Adweek $$$]
  • Tinder has launched a ‘work mode’ that helps you hide your swiping when you’re in the office. [Mashable]
  • Cameo now lets you have live calls with celebrities. [The Verge]
📖 Weekend reading
💀 Meme of the week
📅 Back next week...
And THAT is everything new in social media land this week.
Time for me to go cry into my beer…
A moron decided to scratch the full length of my brand new Mercedes (+ 2 other cars) with a sharp knife for no apparent reason.
It was caught on camera [Watch the moron]
That last loud scratch was on my car 😭
Goodbye, geeks!
— Matt
__________________
This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
Copyright 2021: Matt Navarra Media Ltd
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