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the most controversial description of facebook ever?

Geekout Newsletter
Issue #33 • View online
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Hello, geeks!
First off this week… This shocking but thought-provoking metaphor used to describe Facebook’s (recent) behaviour 😮 Harsh? Accurate?
On to less gruesome news… This week has been all about Twitter. Firstly, ‘Super Follows’ - Twitter’s first stab at a subscription feature allowing creators to paywall their account or selected tweets. As much as LOTS of people told me they would NEVER pay to follow someone, I (and obviously Twitter’s bosses) think there are enough people that can and will pay. I started imagining what could be possible with such a feature. However, the premise of paying to view tweets will feel very odd to most users.
Twitter also revealed a new anti-troll feature called ‘Safety Mode’. A tool which auto-blocks or mutes users posting abusive tweets mentioning you. There are a lot of new A.I-powered tools starting to appear to do this sort of thing for you. And now Twitter may soon integrate its own native feature. Interestingly, my tweet about this yesterday became a lightning rod for career trolls who retweeted it with snarky responses in their thousands.
And Twitter is working on Business Profiles too, and maybe even a fun NEW ‘Like’ button animation!
More on all this and the other Twitter news later.
HIDDEN GEM | You can now schedule publishing new TikTok videos! Only available on TikTok.com (desktop), but still a useful new feature for creators and brands
A quick thank you from me to Random House who kindly gifted me a load of great new books. I’m particularly enjoying Sarah Friers’ ‘No Filter’ which I’ve been meaning to read for ages. It’s really good!

DID YOU SEE…

We’ve all heard a lot about Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces lately… But now there’s ANOTHER “hot new social media app” in the news… Dispo. Read this to bring yourself up to speed on Dispo… Statements such as “Dispo is the new instagram’‘ are being banded about. I’m not so confident this one will still be around a few years from now. Drop me a tweet and let me know if you agree?
Here are a few more things that caught my eye this week which i don’t want you to miss:

ICYMI…

Okay. That was fun, but let’s check out the serious stuff. Time to dive into this week’s news…
— Matt

P.S. 🏠 Join us on Clubhouse TODAY (FRI 26 FEB) at 4PM UK / 11AM ET / 8AM PT in our Geekout Weekly room! It’s mildly entertaining!

🚨 Everyone's talking about...
To make sense of Twitter’s Super Follows feature, you have to look at another announcement the company made yesterday that got a lot less attention.
Twitter wants to double its revenue by the end of 2023. That ambitious target can’t be reached with advertising alone. But by monetising with a thousand tiny paywalls it can directly monetise its users, by helping them make money themselves.
Journalists are already excited about the prospect of charging for scoops on Twitter. And it could be a source of cash for comedians, musicians, and all sorts of other creatives.
The Facebook Groups-like Communities feature Twitter also announced ties in perfectly with the Super Follow. Pay a certain amount per month for a closed community, exclusive tweets, fleets, newsletters, and Spaces? That sounds like a killer offering for certain creators. Similar the subreddits, it seems these Communities could have their own moderation rules, which could help likeminded groups bond without worrying too much about rogue subscribers killing the vibe.
And with talk of commerce features in the air as well, Twitter really has shaken the cobwebs off its product development process. It’s not all about monetisation, either. Another upcoming feature — auto-blocking and muting troll accounts —could help transform Twitter, helping to solve the problem of its often toxic atmosphere.
Because let’s face it, if you want people to stick around and hand over cash, letting them keep getting trolled by serial harassers isn’t the way to do it.
Well, Facebook’s news block in Australia didn’t last long. After talks with the country’s government, it reversed the move having gained substantial concessions that blunt the effect the law (finally approved this week) will have on the company.
As Nieman Lab’s Joshua Benton put it, Facebook acted like Keyser Söze in the 90s classic movie The Usual Suspects — it took the extreme action no-one thought possible, to get what it wanted.
Facebook will happily hand over cash to media companies as long it still gets to control its own platforms. Nick Clegg announced this week “we’ve invested $600 million since 2018 to support the news industry, and plan at least $1 billion more over the next three years.”
That money is no doubt earmarked for the other countries keen to follow Australia’s lead and shake down tech giants for cash rather than deal with proper regulation of adtech. The UK has indicated interest in the Australian approach, and a similar debate is taking place across Europe.
Still, anyone who believes that Facebook cares about news publishers any more than it has to in order to stop them complaining, should remember what the ‘pivot to video’ debacle did to some news outlets a few years ago.
The latest sign that Clubhouse has grown a little too fast for its own good came this week, as it emerged that a third-party website was streaming audio from Clubhouse rooms. And if one developer can do that in public, who might have been siphoning off the audio to private data stores?
Clubhouse banned the user responsible for the website, and pledged to fix the security hole. Still, it’s a reminder than on Clubhouse as with anywhere else online, you should always have in the back of your mind that there’s a chance whatever you share, no matter how seemingly privately, could get into the wrong hands. Be careful out there!
👀 ICYMI...
Stories you need to know about:
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
Facebook Is Considering Facial Recognition For Its Upcoming Smart Glasses
  • New reporting indicates just how much Mark Zuckerberg’s whims define the rules, and how they’re interpreted, at Facebook. [BuzzFeed News]
  • Facebook has responded to the Oversight Board’s first rulings. It says it will not loosen Covid-19 misinformation rules, but it will test letting users know if a human removed their content. [The Verge]
  • Donald Trump has directly appealed to Facebook’s Oversight Board to be let back on to the platform. [@Hayley_Barlow]
  • WhatsApp users who don’t accept its new terms of service won’t be able to read or send messages, and may have their accounts removed after 120 days. [Gizmodo]
  • UK regulator Ofcom should be able to force Facebook to explain its algorithms, fact-checking organisation Full Fact has argued. [Journalism.co.uk]
  • And Facebook and Google are too powerful, says the boss of the UK competition regulator, signalling again that investigations are on the way. [BBC News]
  • Facebook needs to be cut some slack on news and regulation, Oversight Board member Alan Rusbridger said in an online debate with prominent critics of the company. [Journalism.co.uk]
  • Parts of the Amazon rainforest are being illegally sold on Facebook. [BBC News]
  • Facebook has expanded its academic A.I. research programme to University College London. [CNet]
  • Facebook has launched a marketing campaign to promote the benefits of personalised ads, at a time when its data collection capabilities are under threat on iOS. [9to5Mac]
  • The head of Facebook App, Fidji Simo, is the first female board member at US on-demand groceries company Instacart. [@dee_bosa]
Twitter:
Twitter explored buying India’s ShareChat and turning Moj into a global TikTok rival
  • Twitter is adding a ‘hacked materials’ warning to some tweets. [Mashable]
  • But Twitter users have found a way to make the ‘hacked materials’ warning appear on any tweet. Oops. [The Verge]
TikTok:
TikTok removed more than 300,000 videos for election misinformation
  • ByteDance will pay $92m to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging it illegally collected US teenage TikTok users’ data. [Wall Street Journal $$$]
  • Worryingly real-looking Tom Cruise deepfakes are a thing on TikTok. [The Daily Beast]
  • TikTok will sponsor two US soccer teams, adding to its growing roster of sports deals. [CNBC]
  • An accidental upload from a government office in rural Indiana is unexpectedly a viral hit on TikTok. [The Verge]
And the rest:
Snap Projects 50% Annual Revenue Growth for Next Several Years, Stock Hits All-Time High
  • India has announced tough new content takedown rules affecting Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Netflix. [TNW]
  • Retro photo app startup Dispo, co-founded by YouTuber David Dobrik, has reportedly raised $20m and is valued at around $200m. [Axios]
  • Cameo paid $75m to creators last year —75% of its revenue for the year — the company’s CEO says. [Variety]
  • Clubhouse investor Andreessen Horowitz is doubling down on its own use of the platform by hiring a producer to create new shows. [Insider $$$]
  • Tobacco giant BAT is spending £1bn on influencers to boost sales of ‘lung friendly’ products to young people. [The Guardian]
  • Twitch switched the audio in a live Metallica performance to “comically inappropriate instrumental folk music” in what looks like an automatic copyright measure. lol. [Variety]
❓ Question of the week
Now that Super Follows are coming, this 👇 is the important question! Click through to get involved.
Matt Navarra
the ONE twitter user I would happily pay to super-follow...?
🔨 Tool of the week
Remind Me of This Tweet
🔍 Insights
Social media data, insights and reports to give you an edge at work:
  • How Instagram ranks your story viewers [The Independent]
  • Cambridge University has compared the performance of Facebook, Microsoft, and Google ads. [Search Engine Journal]
  • 1.8 billion people use Facebook Groups every month, according to a new NYU report looking at online communities. [Search Engine Journal]
📲 Quick hits
Updates, experiments, and useful info snippets:
  • Facebook Shop has launched in the UK and Canada, following its US launch last summer. [Facebook newsroom]
  • Facebook has launched new Covid-19 vaccination stickers and avatar frames in partnership with the UK government and NHS. [Gov.uk]
  • Facebook is testing new tools to keep people from sharing content that victimises children. [Facebook newsroom]
  • Facebook has launched new in-app resources for people affected by eating disorders and negative body image. [Facebook newsroom]
  • Facebook has launched a new Platform Live Status page for its business products, [@MattNavarra]
  • Portal and Oculus devices now respond to “hey Facebook” as a wake phrase. [The Verge]
  • Facebook has added an Instagram icon and pop-up reminder when you create a Facebook story and share it to Instagram. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook is tweaking the design of items displayed in the hamburger menu on iOS. [@MattNavarra]
  • Instagram is working on the ability to search for hashtags by location on a map. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is one of a number of social platforms to launch new support features to tie in with National Eating Disorder Week. [@mosseri]
  • Instagram’s low-spec Lite app now supports viewing Reels videos. [9to5Google]
  • Instagram is working on a 🔒 icon in Direct chats, although it’s unclear what it’s for. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram could soon add a new ‘Send Love’ sticker. [@alex193a]
  • A new Oculus Quest feature will let you mark out your surroundings so they appear as boundaries in VR. [The Verge]
  • Twitter has relaunched its ‘review before you tweet’ prompt on iOS, aiming to discourage potentially harmful or offensive replies. [9to5Mac]
  • Twitter doubled the number of users with access to start Spaces on iOS from 3,000 to 6,000 this week. [@MattNavarra]
  • Twitter Spaces for Android is now in alpha testing. [@testingcatalog]
  • Twitter Spaces now gives you a better idea of who’s listening in. [@kayvz]
  • Twitter Spaces is working on a ‘removed users’ list to help track people who abuse the platfom. [@wongmjane]
  • Twitter is testing a prompt to write a Revue newsletter when you compose a tweet thread. [@wuebben]
A new Twitter prompt when you compose a thread.
A new Twitter prompt when you compose a thread.
  • Twitter’s Revue has launched a new, more “intimate” theme for newsletters. [@revue]
  • Twitter has renamed ‘Rogue One’ to ‘Subscriptions’ in its code, indicating some kind of subscription product will be launching soon. [@alex193a]
  • TikTok has also added resources and support about eating disorders when people make searches related to the topic. [The Verge]
  • TikTok has extended its partnership with Shopify to France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and UK. [Adweek $$$]
  • TikTok’s self-serve ad platform has launched in Canada. [Social Media Today]
  • TikTok has added a ‘products’ tab to Favorites. [@MattNavarra]
  • TikTok is working on a flashy new video outro and watermark. [@alex193a]
  • TikTok has added the ability to toggle on/off the ability for advertisers use your TikTok videos in ads. Also there’s an option to view/amend what Tiktok predicts as your ad interests. [@MattNavarra]
  • Clubhouse has hired an Android developer, signalling that the version of the app for that platform is now in development. [CNBC]
  • Pinterest is yet another social platform to mark National Eating Disorders Awareness Week with new support features. [Pinterest newsroom]
  • You can now embed Pinterest Pins in Microsoft Word and OneNote. [The Verge]
A Pinterest embed in Microsoft OneNote
A Pinterest embed in Microsoft OneNote
  • YouTube is launching a ‘PG’ mode that lets parents and carers supervise children who are too old for YouTube Kids but too young for the full YouTube experience. [Variety]
  • YouTube TV has launched a US bundle deal for popular channels including HBO Max, Starz, and Showtime. [Android Police]
  • YouTube for Android now supports 4K HDR playback. [Android Police]
  • LinkedIn is developing a service called Marketplaces to let users find and book freelancers. It will reportedly launch in September. [The Information $$$]
  • LinkedIn has launched new tools for company pages, Including content recommendation and lead gathering options. [Social Media Today]
  • Snap will stream its 2021 partner summit on 20 May. [Social Media Today]
  • Snap is still working on a dark mode for Snapchat. [@alex193a]
  • Telegram has launched auto-delete for messages in any chat, home screen widgets, and more. [Telegram blog]

📖 Weekend reading
American Idle
💀 Meme of the week
We’ve all been there…
Credit: @workinsocialtheysaid on Instagram
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📅 Back next week...
That’s a wrap!
Switch off the lights, lock the door on your way out. 
You are DONE!
A few quick housekeeping reminders before you go…

🏠 GEEKOUT CLUBHOUSE ROOM REMINDER
Join me on Clubhouse TODAY (FRI 26 FEB) at 4PM GMT / 11AM ET / 8AM PT for Geekout Weekly. 

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You’re a legend! Thank you :)
And for now… Goodbye geeks!
— Matt

This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
Copyright 2021: Matt Navarra Media Ltd
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