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the internet’s most important questions

Geekout Newsletter for Social Media Managers
Issue #78 • View online
*Read this newsletter on the web for the best experience*
Well hello again, you! 
First off this week… 
The internet’s most important questions. Settle the debate… Submit your answers
And never miss a social media holiday again, thanks to your friends at Emplifi [Free Calendar] 👍
  1. Instagram is now testing a TikTok-like vertical feed for Stories [LINK]
  2. Snapchat added a bunch of new messaging features [LINK]
  3. Twitch (unsurprisingly) starts banning users for streaming TV shows [LINK]
  4. Instagram is working on a profile grid editing feature (brand SMMs rejoice) [LINK]
  5. Twitter Spaces recording feature is now available for all users [LINK]
And now the ‘Everything else that happened this week that you might want to know about’ bit [working title]…
Meta is shutting down two more of its experimental apps: Sparked and Collab… Baby Shark has hit 10 billion views on YouTube (you’re singing it in your head now aren’t you)… Twitter’s first NFT feature has been spotted in the wild… Kylie Jenner became the first women to hit 300m followers on Instagram
TikTok video descriptions may soon become stuffed full of links to other videos… TikTok is also testing a ‘noise reducer’ tool… Facebook’s position in the best places to work list for 2022 took a nosedive… Twitch streamers want a fairer split of revenue… Twitter is expanding its keyword blocking features… And Twitter’s handy major events calendar for marketers in 2022 is out…
Twitter’s Like button has a scary new (branded) animation… WhatsApp may finally let you play voice notes in the background… The DEA published a chart to help parents decipher emoji code for dangerous drugs… TikTok’s highest paid stars in 2021 were revealed… AND finally… Meta loves talking to itself on Twitter + Instagram’s social media manager got burnt in the comments on this Facebook Page post.
✨ HIDDEN GEM | Copywriting Examples
The World’s Best Copy All in One Place. Great FREE resource >> Check it out <<
👀 COMING SOON: Netflix’s ‘Tinder Swindler’ documentary looks good [WATCH PREVIEW]
📏 SIZE MATTERS: Social Media Image Size Guide for 2022 [READ] 
😴 REVEALED: Which social media app has the biggest effect on sleep patterns [LEARN]
🐔 FUN: Emojis to scale…It will make sense when you click > [LOOK]
⚖️ LAWYER UP: The legal issues all creators need to know about in 2022 [CHECK]
Okay, folks… Let’s jump into the headlines getting the most attention this week 👇
— Matt
P.S. Join me for the first Geekout Debrief on Twitter Spaces at 8AM PT / 1PM ET / 4PM UK today (Fri 14 Jan).
Martin and I will discuss the biggest social media headlines from the week to bring you up to speed | LISTEN

🚨 Everyone's talking about...
It gets more scrutiny than it used to, but YouTube still manages to fly under most people’s radars when they think about social media platforms with a big influence on the world today.
And yet there’s real reason to be concerned, according to fact-checking groups from 40 countries around the world. As the Guardian reports:
A letter signed by more than 80 groups, including Full Fact in the UK and the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, says the video platform is hosting content by groups including Doctors for the Truth, which spread Covid misinformation, and videos supporting the “fraud” narrative during the US presidential election.
The letter says YouTube’s lack of enough action to tackle the problem lets bad actors exploit people and raise money for their operations.
The organisations behind the letter want YouTube to: fund independent research; prominently link to fact-checks when users watch a false or misleading video; downrank repeat offenders, and do more to address misinformation in non-English language videos.
In response, YouTube says it keeps “consumption of recommended borderline misinformation significantly below 1% of all views on YouTube, and only about 0.21% of all views are of violative content that we later remove.” That might sound impressive until you remember the sheer scale of a platform where popular videos can get millions (or billions) of views. 1% can mean big numbers at YouTube scale.
Meta might be far from perfect, but it has taken more action against misinformation since the media and politicians stepped up scrutiny of its platforms. It’s time a greater share of attention shone on YouTube’s problems, motivating the platform’s leadership to clean up its act.
After failing in its first attempt to file a competition lawsuit against Meta, this week the US Federal Trade Commission’s second try proved successful, as the Verge explains:
District of Columbia Judge James Boasberg said in an opinion released today that the FTC’s first complaint had “stumbled out of the starting blocks.” But a revised version, Boasberg said, makes the same arguments with facts that are “far more robust and detailed than before.” As a result, he’s denying Meta’s motion to dismiss and allowing the case to proceed, although he states that the agency “may well face a tall task down the road in proving its allegations.”
But even if the FTC is eventually successful in proving that buying Instagram and WhatsApp has given Meta an unlawful monopoly in the American social media space, the time these kinds of cases take mean it will be YEARS before any of this is resolved. And it’s already 10 years since the Instagram deal and eight years since the WhatsApp deal took place. Any punishment—no matter how justified—will be well over a decade too late to matter, if it ever happens.
Scrutiny of Meta’s acquisitions and dominance in the consumer VR space is where there’s far more scope to make a real impact on Meta’s practices. Taking action before it’s too late is far more useful for the public and the industry than a slap on the wrist many years afterwards.
TikTok’s rise looks set to continue this year, but its exclusion from one of the most important social media markets in the world is having an impact on just how big it can become.
The impact of India’s TikTok ban is made clear by new global app downloads data from Sensor Tower. Instagram topped the overall app global download chart for Q4 2021. And as TechCrunch reports, Indian politics has played a big part in keeping the threat from TikTok at bay:
Sensor Tower told TechCrunch that, since the ban, Instagram has seen a steady increase in the share of its global downloads coming from India.
For example, in Q2 2020, approximately 21% of Instagram’s downloads were from India, and that share increased to 39% by Q4 2021. And when looking at the full-year totals, around 25% of Instagram’s downloads came from India in 2020, which then grew to about 36% in 2021.
TikTok does top Sensor Tower’s iOS global downloads chart for Q4, but Instagram parent company Meta is lucky that anti-Chinese sentiment is so strong within the Indian government. It just goes to show the extent to which political influence around the world is now essential for social media giants.
📃 Report of the week
#RealTalk: The state of brand behavior on Twitter and what’s coming next
👌 Pro tip of the week
Looking for shiny new tools to level-up your social media game in 2022?
Product Hunt’s Golden Kitty Awards lists are a goldmine.
TIP: Check out the 1. Community / Social, 2. WTF, and 3. Creator Economy tool lists. 
🤦 Fail of the week
Hype House is out and it's being ripped to shreds by reviews saying it's 'terrible' and 'sad'
📲 App of the week
Anthem is an iOS app that TikTokifies your Spotify experience
🔨 Tool of the week
❓ Question of the week
Looking for something new on TikTok? There are some great recommendations here… 👇
Matt Navarra
What’s your favourite TikTok account right now ?
💬 You can quote me on that
When I’m in the news, you’ll read about it here…
Journalism, media, and technology trends and predictions 2022
🌟 New feature of the week
🔵 Meta news
All the latest from Meta brands: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and beyond:
Meta's Head of PR Leaves a Company on Fire
  • Meta’s former elections chief is the latest alum of the company to work towards tighter social media regulation. [Wall Street Journal $$$]
  • Meta faces a class action lawsuit in England and Wales over an alleged breach of UK competition law. [BBC News]
  • Meta appears to have recruited lots of AR experts from Microsoft’s Hololens team. [Wall Street Journal $$$]
  • Meta has fallen 36 places in Glassdoor’s list of the best places to work. [CNBC]
  • Meta’s experimental Collab app will close down on 12 March. [@madewithcollab]
  • And Meta is also shuttering its experimental speed-dating app Sparked. [TechCrunch]
  • Meta will discuss children’s safety in VR with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office. [BBC News]
  • Mozilla has launched a ‘Facebook Pixel Hunt’ project to track how Meta tracks users on the web. [Gizmodo]
  • Facebook’s advertising policies appear to discriminate against women’s sexual health products. [New York Times $$$]
  • Facebook’s Spanish-language moderators say they’re treated worse than their English-focused counterparts. [BuzzFeed News]
New features and tests:
  • Facebook has launched a new Privacy Center, featuring education about privacy-related topics. It’s currently available in a limited US rollout only. [MacRumors]
  • Facebook is promoting its Bulletin newsletters in the News Feed. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook Live has been spotted offering some new features. [@TechnicalGulub]
  • Instagram is testing a vertical swipe stories feed in Turkey. [@MattNavarra]
  • Instagram’s livestream tipping badges will now be enabled by default worldwide for eligible creators. [Social Media Today]
  • Instagram could soon let you edit the order of your profile grid. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is testing 24-hour profile statuses. [Social Media Today]
  • Instagram has been spotted letting users view their liked Reels. [@sakshammakani]
  • Instagram is still working on letting you delete your account directly from the app. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram could introduce a 😍 reaction sticker. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram appears to be working on a revamped comment section. [@hammodoh1]
  • Instagram Stories shared to Facebook are starting to show Facebook viewers in your Instagram stats. [@ahmedghanem]
  • WhatsApp has introduced new search filters on on Android and iOS. [XDA Developers]
  • WhatsApp is working on a revamped chat list design on iOS. [WABetaInfo]
  • WhatsApp is testing letting you play voice notes in the background while you do other things on your phone. [XDA Developers]
  • WhatsApp seems to be nearly ready to launch message reactions. [9to5Mac]
  • The latest Quest 2 software features a short demo of Horizon Home. [UploadVR]
  • Meta is testing a new Quest feature that allows users to map entire rooms in VR, including furniture. [Android Central]
🐣 Twitter news
Twitter’s New Marketing Pitch to Studios
  • Twitter has bought a minority stake in digital advertising company Aleph Group. [US News]
  • Twitter and Fox Sports will partner again for the next two FIFA World Cups. [Adweek $$$]
Insights to give you an edge at work:
  • Planning campaigns on Twitter for this year? The company has published a useful events calendar to help. [Social Media Today]
  • What do consumers expect from brands on Twitter? The company has a new guide on the topic. [Social Media Today]
  • What were gamers talking about on Twitter in 2021? The company has spilled the beans. [Twitter blog]
New features and tests:
  • Twitter’s NFT profile picture feature is now being tested in the wild. [Social Media Today]
  • Twitter is testing a search bar and search button in the Home tab on iOS. [@TwitterSupport]
  • Spaces topic tagging has rolled out more widely in the English language. [@TwitterSpaces]
  • Spaces recording is now available to all on Android and iOS. [@TwitterSupport]
  • Twitter’s Explore tab will begin hiding blocked and muted accounts. [Social Media Today]
  • Twitter is promoting the new Scream movie with a branded Like animation with a different animation whether you’re in light or dark mode. [Adweek $$$]
  • It looks like there are new seasonal app icons on the way for Twitter Blue subscribers. [@alex193a]
🔺 TikTok news
TikTok’s Highest-Earning Stars: Charli and Dixie D’Amelio Raked in $27.5 Million in 2021
Insights to give you an edge at work:
  • How useful is it to link up with creators when advertising on TikTok? The company has released some data. [Social Media Today]
New features and tests:
  • TikTok recently introduced ‘redeem code’ stickers for Shopping. [@MattNavarra]
  • TikTok has a new ‘Invite to Watch’ feature. [@MattNavarra]
  • TikTok has a new prompt to get you to try new effects. [@MattNavarra]
  • TikTok is testing a ‘video link in descriptions’ feature. [@MattNavarra]
  • TikTok now offers a noise reduction option when creating videos. [@MattNavarra]
💥 More social media news and updates
January 6 committee subpoenas Google, Facebook, Twitter and Reddit in probe of Capitol attack
  • Signal boss Moxie Marlinspike has stepped down. He’s been replaced by former WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton until a permanent CEO can be found. [Signal blog]
  • Baby Shark is the first YouTube video to hit 10 billion views. [TubeFilter]
  • Influencers could be forced to display a warning logo if they edit their body image, if a British MP gets his way. [Sky News]
  • Reddit still has a serious problem with hate speech, according to moderators. [Time $$$]
  • LinkedIn is expanding its editorial and creator-engagement teams. [Insider $$$]
  • Discord hacking is one of the latest threats facing NFT fans. [The Verge]
  • Twitch is cracking down on TV show streams. [Eurogamer]
  • The US government has published a list of emojis it claims are links to drug dealing. [Boing Boing]
  • Online platforms should make it easier for fake reviews to be removed, Australia’s small business ombudsman has said. [The Guardian]
  • The Buy Nothing community, which found popularity on Facebook, now has a platform of its own. [The Verge]
  • Swiss soldiers are no longer allowed to use WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram while on duty. [Sky News]
New features and tests:
  • YouTube has added new advanced analytics to its Studio app. [Social Media Today]
  • YouTube is testing a ‘smart downloads’ feature for videos. [9to5Google]
  • Snapchat is rolling out new and updated messaging features: chat replies, new Bitmoji reactions, polls, and a revamped calling interface. [Adweek $$$]
  • Twitch now lets streamers give free emotes to their followers. [Engadget]
  • Pinterest has added a ‘Profiles’ tab to search results. [Social Media Today]
  • Pinterest now lets you share pin ‘highlights’ on your profile. [@Ken_Schillinger]
  • Tumblr has added a ‘sensitive content’ toggle on iOS, to comply with Apple’s rules. [9to5Mac]
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🤔 Thought for the week
Matt Navarra
I hope twitter launches the personas feature it was testing.

I often want to tweet about non social media related topics without alienating existing followers not interested in those tweets

I don’t really want to setup and manage a separate account to do that.
📖 Weekend reading
The Inside Story of Politics for All, Twitter’s Infamous UK News Account
😳 And finally...
📅 Back next week...
…And that’s everything you need to know this week!
Your Social Media IQ just went up a couple of points. Nice.
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Right… I’m heading off to try and beat my PB on Wordle. My life is so rock ‘n’ roll.
Goodbye, geeks!
— Matt
This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
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