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the evolution of facebook in one tweet

Geekout Newsletter
Issue #51 • View online
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Hello Geeks!
First off this week… The evolution of Facebook in one tweet 😳
…also…
This guide to social media comments is essential viewing for every SMM 💀
DID YOU SEE…
Do you ever wish you could publish some of your DMs? My inbox this week has had it all. Verification requests from celebrities, insider leaks of upcoming new features, demands for money, hate mail, and even a marriage proposal. People are weird. But then again… So am I.
Check out the ‘In the DMs…’ section later on in this newsletter where I’ve shared a couple of this week’s most interesting messages that slid in to my inbox 😯
No growth hacking. No shady tactics. Just useful tips that actually work. 
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We’re bringing back the Geekout podcast! And this time we’re also doing it LIVE on Twitter Spaces. We’ll be joined by the biggest names from the world of social media, including well-known social network execs, a TikTok superstar, a popular internet culture journalist, and more. Launching: July 15th [Listen to Seasons 1 + 2]
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ICYMI
Right then… Let’s do this! Here we go with this week’s most-talked about social media news 👇
— Matt
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🚨 Everyone's talking about...
It’s a common complaint that Instagram simply does too much stuff; critics say it’s a bloated app packed with too many features. But if you were hoping the Instagram team might eventually agree with that view and take it back to its innocent days as a simple app for sharing square photos, you’ll be disappointed.
Video is the future of Instagram, the company’s chief Adam Mosseri has confirmed this week. As the Verge reports:
Mosseri said the company is looking to lean into entertainment and video after seeing the success of competitors like TikTok and YouTube.
He describes some upcoming changes and experiments that Instagram will be doing, including showing users recommendations for topics they’re not following and making video more immersive by offering a full-screen experience.
This is a reminder that social platforms aren’t simply products that do specific things, they’re ways of reaching a certain audience. And as that audience changes, so do the features the platforms emphasise.
Just like MTV pivoted from music videos to reality shows to stay relevant to its audience and keep selling ads, any content brand (which Instagram is) is less about what it does, and far more about who it’s for, and so this is unlikely to be the last strategic shift we’ll see from Instagram in the future.
Pour one out for square photos with filters, old timer.
Until now, a lot of the Western concern about what TikTok’s Chinese parent company might mean for user data has had little in the way of evidence to back it up. But a report from CNBC indicates that maybe the current US investigation into China-linked apps including TikTok might have something serious to act on:
The former employees who spoke to CNBC said the boundaries between TikTok and ByteDance were so blurry as to be almost non-existent.
[Examples included] a situation where an American employee working on TikTok needed to get a list of global users, including Americans, who searched for or interacted with a specific type of content — that means users who searched for a specific term or hashtag or liked a particular category of videos.
This employee had to reach out to a data team in China in order to access that information. The data the employee received included users’ specific IDs, and they could pull up whatever information TikTok had about those users. This type of situation was confirmed as a common occurrence by a second employee. 
Now, any experienced journalist knows that former employees aren’t necessarily the best people to comment on what goes on at a company. They may have motivations beyond simply whistleblowing on bad behaviour, and their memories might have been distorted by time. But this report certainly raises questions about what else might happen to the data ByteDance holds about TikTok users. Does it get shared with the Chinese government?
ByteDance says it employs “rigorous access controls and a strict approval process overseen by our U.S.-based leadership team, including technologies like encryption and security monitoring to safeguard sensitive user data,” but the uncertainty isn’t good for TikTok as its future in the US still hangs in the balance amid growing talk of a US-China ‘cold war’.
With every week seemingly bringing more antitrust investigations against big tech companies, and the drum beat of ‘regulation is coming’ getting ever louder, it was odd this week to see the wind blow in the other direction, if only slightly.
Axios reported:
A federal district judge on Monday dismissed the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust complaint alleging Facebook engaged in anticompetitive practices.
Driving the news: The judge described the FTC’s complaint as “legally insufficient” in making the case that Facebook has monopoly power in the personal social network market.
But while some were keen to paint this as a massive win for Facebook, it could also be read as a minor setback for the FTC, which was trying to argue that Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp should be unwound.
As analysis in the Guardian opinion section noted “it does not matter much that you or I see Facebook as a monopoly. The government failed to show that Facebook, by its actions, restrained trade or limited competition.”
But the FTC could still come back with a stronger case, and even if it can’t, there are plenty of other investigations underway aiming at Facebook. And the new FTC commissioner is an expert in abuses by monopolies who has big tech in her sights, so it seems only a matter of time before a blow gets landed.
Meanwhile, Facebook became a trillion-dollar company this week, so Mark Zuckerberg won’t be worrying too much in the short term.
👀 ICYMI...
Stories you need to know about:
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
Facebook announces Bulletin, its Substack newsletter competitor
  • Instagram is testing an ad revenue sharing deal with publishers on IGTV. [Axios]
  • The White House has directly warned Mark Zuckerberg about the scale of Facebook’s vaccine misinformation problem. [Insider]
  • It’s taking longer than planned to make Messenger and WhatsApp interoperable, says Facebook’s Nick Clegg. [Insider $$$]
  • Facebook is not immune from prosecution regarding sex trafficking recruitment, in a test of the bounds of the hotly debated Section 230 protection US internet companies enjoy. [Insider]
  • Germany’s data protection commissioner wants all government bodies in the country to remove their Facebook Pages due to the company’s privacy record. [Financial Times $$$]
  • Facebook has created an educational app called Sabee, built in—and aimed at—Nigeria. [TechCrunch]
  • Facebook’s Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth has a new podcast called ‘Boz to the Future’. [@techatfacebook]
Twitter:
Twitter is making NFTs now, apparently
  • England footballers have received thousands of abusive tweets in during their Euro 2020 games. [The Guardian]
  • A Twitter troll will pay a six-figure sum in damages for defamatory remarks about BBC radio and TV presenter Stephen Nolan. [BBC News]
TikTok:
TikTok removed 7 million+ accounts for being under 13 in Q1
  • TikTok has signed as title sponsor of Wrexham AFC, the football club owned by Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds. [@Wrexham_AFC]
  • Nerf is to host a TikTok tournament with a $15,000 cash prize. [TubeFilter]
And the rest:
UK tells messaging apps not to use e2e encryption for kids’ accounts
  • And the UK’s controversial Online Safety Bill faces fresh criticism from civil liberties campaigners. [Politico]
  • A Florida judge blocked a state law that would have stopped social platforms banning politicians. [CNet]
  • Facebook, Google, Twitter, and TikTok have pledged to do more to address the abuse of women online. [The Guardian]
  • Aggressive social media posts that name their targets are far more likely to be shared than those that don’t, according to a new study. [NBC News]
  • A new Russian law means social platforms will need to open offices in the country. [Reuters]
  • “92%” of LinkedIn users’ data has emerged in the latest example of scraped data turning up in online stashes. [9to5Mac]
  • YouTube has won naming rights on a 6,000-seat ‘YouTube Theater’ in L.A. It will be used among other things for creator events and concerts. [Variety]
  • Amazon reportedly considered buying Signal before it acquired rival secure messaging app Wickr. [Insider $$$]
  • Clubhouse’s Android launch saw the app’s download numbers surge in June. [Insider $$$]
  • Pinterest has banned all ads relating to weight loss. [Engadget]
  • LinkedIn has formally joined the EU’s voluntary code relating to hate speech takedowns. [TechCrunch]
  • Discord has acquired an AR startup called Ubiquity6. [TechCrunch]
❓ Question of the week
Here’s your chance to make your fellow social media managers’ lives easier. Tap through, get involved, and pick up some tips yourself! 👇
Matt Navarra
social media manager lifehacks you wish you'd known sooner...
📩 In the DMs
Geeky social media gossip and red-hot rumours…
There were some oddities in my DM inbox this week…
  • Which former Britain’s Got Talent finalist asked me to help get them verified on TikTok? (For the 5,000,000th time, I can’t do that)
  • Which well-known British TV weather presenter—who doesn’t follow me, has never met me, and has never engaged with my tweets—messaged me like we’re best buds… and then asked for a retweet?
💬 You can quote me on that
When I get quoted in the news, you’ll find it here…
Facebook confirms plan to destroy Instagram, turn it into TikTok
📊 Stat of the week
🔨 Tool of the week
Pixelhunter
🌟 New feature of the week
This test will be VERY exciting to a lot of users. Linking out from Instagram has been restricted to only the biggest accounts until now. Is the velvet rope being cut?
🔍 Insights
Social media data, insights and reports to give you an edge at work:
  • Want to make long stories more digestible? Here’s how the New York Times uses Instagram slides and Twitter cards. [Nieman Lab]
  • Want free training, resources and inspiration for using Facebook as a business tool? The company has begun a seven-week “virtual experience” to help you. [Adweek $$$]
  • How can you grow your YouTube channel’s audience? The company has released a new video filled with tips. [Social Media Today]
  • What are the best ways for businesses to use LinkedIn in 2021? A new official digital magazine provides insights. [Social Media Today]
  • Getting to grips with LinkedIn advertising? Check this mini-guide. [Social Media Today]
📲 Quick hits
Updates, experiments, and useful info snippets:
  • Facebook has launched a Women’s Safety Hub. [Adweek $$$]
  • Facebook has expanded availability of its mobile cloud gaming service, and added Ubisoft titles to its roster. [Facebook Gaming]
  • And the cloud gaming service is still not on iOS but Facebook says it’s still working on it. [9to5Mac]
  • Facebook Group admins can now automatically invite followers of any Page you manage to join their Group. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook is redesigning the Stories tray to include Reels and Rooms tabs. [@alex193a]
  • Facebook is working on a ‘Chipmunk’ voice filter for Soundbites. [@alex193a]
  • Facebook is testing a new Share Sheet UI on iOS. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook is building a ‘Creator Support’ section in its Help menu. [@alex193a]
  • Facebook is still working on the Status feature, giving it a new icon in development code. [@alex193a]
  • Facebook’s Portal TV will soon have dedicated software support on LG TVs. [Engadget]
  • Instagram appears to be finalising the launch of end-to-end encryption for messages. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is still working on a Collectibles feature. The onboarding screen has now emerged. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram now lets US businesses label themselves as Black-owned. [Adweek $$$]
Instagram highlights Black-owned shops. [Credit: Instagram]
Instagram highlights Black-owned shops. [Credit: Instagram]
  • Instagram is redesigning its password change UI. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is working on animated doodles for Stories. [@insta_leaks]
  • Instagram is developing shortcuts to audio and video calls in the chat view. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is testing a feed of ads similar to the one you just engaged with. [Adweek $$$]
  • Instagram could soon let you share media in Live. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is working on a new colour palette that will be auto-generated based on the colours in your Stories picture. [@insta_leaks]
  • WhatsApp has launched a ‘Celebrate the Game’ sticker pack for football (AKA soccer) fans. [@WhatsApp]
  • WhatsApp is rolling out disappearing photos and videos on Android. [TechRadar]
  • WhatsApp is working on a new look for voice messages. [WABetaInfo]
  • WhatsApp is set to let businesses conceal their online status and ‘last seen’ information. [TechRadar]
  • Twitter is testing a new label explaining why certain tweets may be misleading. [@TwitterSupport]
  • Twitter Spaces now lets hosts see how many speakers invite slots are left each time the invite a speaker. [@TwitterSpaces]
More information when adding speakers to a Space. [Credit: Twitter]
More information when adding speakers to a Space. [Credit: Twitter]
  • Twitter now lets you use a security key as your only two-factor auth option. [Twitter blog]
  • Twitter is working on a ‘connected accounts’ settings screen. [@alex193a]
  • YouTube for Android now lets you link to specific points in videos with timestamped chapters. [Android Police]
  • YouTube Studio has a new icon that is very similar to the YouTube Music logo. [9to5Google]
  • YouTube is testing a redesign of video descriptions on the web. [9to5Google]
  • Snapchat has new options for controlling the kinds of ads you see. [Adweek $$$]
  • Snapchat is working on a Chat Reply option. [@alex193a]
  • Your Snapchat Bitmoji can now wear Adidas. [Adweek $$$]
  • Snap-powered lenses are now available in Viber. [Adweek $$$]
  • Clubhouse’s mobile notifications have been refreshed to be easier to read quickly… and to include more emoji. [@Clubhouse]
  • Reddit has launched translated versions of its platform in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. [Adweek $$$]
  • Discord now lets you add more information about yourself in your profile. [The Verge]
  • Twitch is rolling out its Watch Parties feature on Android and iOS. [The Verge]
📖 Weekend reading
How Reddit Attracts (and Rewards) the Worst Type of Comments
💀 Meme of the week
📅 Back next week...
Well, that’s pretty much EVERYTHING you need to know about this week.
BTW… I’d love to get to know more about YOU.
Maybe drop me a reply to this email with an answer to one of these questions:
1. The well-known brand social media accounts you manage?
or
2. Your most favorite / least favorite bits of Geekout?
or
3. Your ‘Nobody Must Ever Know’ social media manager confession (just between us) ;)
Time for me to get excited about England’s Euro 2021 quarter-final.
Rumor: “🎶 …It’s coming home…” 🏆⚽️
Have a great weekend.
Goodbye, geek!
— Matt
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__________________
This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
Copyright 2021: Matt Navarra Media Ltd
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