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the most meta thing you’ll see this week

Geekout Newsletter for Social Media Managers
Issue #89 • View online
*Read this newsletter on the web for the best experience*
Hello, Geeks!
Welcome one and all. It’s been a wild week in social, so we’d better slap snap to it. 
Before we get started…
Also… 
A Free Gift for Every Social Media Manager 🎁 📊
Find social media analytics tricky?
Dread producing the end of month social media report?
🔥 GEEKOUT HOT 5
  1. Meta’s dirty TikTok smear campaign revealed [ZUCK ON THIS]
  2. New EU rules risk damaging encrypted messaging apps [MORE INFO]
  3. That Will Smith Oscars incident lit up Twitter [A-SLAPPIN]
  4. Instagram rolled out a long list of new DM super-powers [NEW STUFF]
  5. Social media *does* make teens unhappy [NEW RESEARCH] 
You know the drill. It’s time to sprint through the most-noteworthy things in my feeds. Lots of good stuff this week. Let’s do this…!
Keep having your Instagram verification request rejected? This news is going to sting a little… This new Google Docs feature helps make your social copy sound better… New social app BeReal is starting to generate a buzz… Wendy’s opened a burger joint in the metaverse (*eye roll gif*)… Trump *still* doesn’t use his own social network… And it turns out no one else is using it either.
Snapchat added a YouTube video sharing feature… Spotify is testing TikTok-like podcast audio clips feed… YouTube’s big plans for podcasting (aka how it plans to catch up with Spotify) got leaked… YouTube is also testing a new emoji reactions feature (who isn’t?).
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A British Twitter user got sentenced to 150 hours community service for an offensive tweet… Twitter is working on a weird ‘Vibes’ feature… And Twitter is also piloting three new ad formats… TikTok partnered with Giphy for its new GIF library feature (Meta owns Giphy. Awkward!)… TikTok is also testing a new Watch History feature and Search Ads
Messenger added new Slack-like shortcuts for group chats… Instagram has a new hashtag feature… Meta warned it’s cracking down on ‘watchbait’ video tactics… LinkedIn is testing a slideshows feature… LinkedIn also revealed useful new tools for creators including enhanced profile analytics… And finally… LinkedIn now lets you add Dyslexic Thinking as a skill to your profile.
WORTH A LOOK 👀
⭐️ TWITTER: You can now join Geekout on Twitter Communities [REQUEST INVITE]
✨ NEXT GEN: Forget Gen-Z. Meet Gen Alpha who think YouTube, Netflix are coolest [MORE INFO] 
🚫 NO ADS: How to get fewer political ads in your Facebook news feed [TOP TIP]
🤷‍♂️ HASHTAGS: Instagram’s boss now says hashtags *are* useful, but… [BUT WHAT?]
🤳🏻 PRO TIP: How to take better pics of your GF/BF, according to an Instagram husband [SAY CHEESE]
Right then… Time to dig into the news headlines everyone’s talking about this week 👇
— Matt
P.S. Join us for the Geekout Debrief on Twitter Spaces at 8AM PT / 11PM ET / 4PM UK today (APRIL 1) - LISTEN / REPLAY
✨ SPECIAL GUEST: James Whatley, chief strategy officer at Diva Agency.

🚨 Everyone's talking about...
It’s been a few weeks since we had a fresh controversy from Meta, and this week we had two that tied neatly (and excruciatingly) together.
First up, Meta has been paying a company to smear TikTok as a way of deflecting attention from its own PR issues. As the Washington Post reported…
Facebook parent company Meta is paying one of the biggest Republican consulting firms in the country to orchestrate a nationwide campaign seeking to turn the public against TikTok.
The campaign includes placing op-eds and letters to the editor in major regional news outlets, promoting dubious stories about alleged TikTok trends that actually originated on Facebook, and pushing to draw political reporters and local politicians into helping take down its biggest competitor.
Dirty tricks indeed, but Meta was far from sorry, as Variety explained:
Asked to comment on Targeted Victory’s so-called “astroturfing” campaign, Meta spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement, “We believe all platforms, including TikTok, should face a level of scrutiny consistent with their growing success.”
Confecting controversies and public outrage about a competitor isn’t scrutiny, it’s deflection. And Meta’s own flaws hit the spotlight again just a day after the Washington Post’s scoop. The Verge revealed a pretty serious News Feed bug that appears to have been boosting misinformation that was supposed to be suppressed.
A group of Facebook engineers identified a “massive ranking failure” that exposed as much as half of all News Feed views to potential “integrity risks” over the past six months, according to an internal report on the incident obtained by The Verge….
Instead of suppressing posts from repeat misinformation offenders that were reviewed by the company’s network of outside fact-checkers, the News Feed was instead giving the posts distribution, spiking views by as much as 30 percent globally. Unable to find the root cause, the engineers watched the surge subside a few weeks later and then flare up repeatedly until the ranking issue was fixed on March 11th.
Meta downplayed the bug, with the company’s Joe Osborne saying: “This Verge piece misrepresented a bug that had no meaningful, long-term impact on the problematic content people saw. Only a very small # of views of this content in Feed were ever impacted because the overwhelming majority of posts in Feed are not eligible to be down-ranked.”
Okay, but without definitions of ‘meaningful’, ‘long-term’, ‘problematic’, and ‘small number’ it’s hard to take this response seriously. That’s especially true in a week where we’ve also seen stories about Meta failing to label bioweapons conspiracy theory posts, and problems with its handling of potential child sexual abuse.
Meta has a trust problem and no amount of smearing a rival can counter that. Only by being open and accountable, and making positive changes to become a better global citizen can the company truly regain that trust.
The EU’s proposed Digital Markets Act has got the tech world in a spin, particularly over its plans to make messaging services interoperable.
For people who want Apple to open up its iMessage technology to third parties, this sounds very promising indeed, but as the Verge explained, the whole idea falls apart once you start to consider encryption:
That would mean letting end-to-end encrypted services like WhatsApp mingle with less secure protocols like SMS — which security experts worry will undermine hard-won gains in the field of message encryption…
The consensus among cryptographers is that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to maintain encryption between apps, with potentially enormous implications for users. Signal is small enough that it wouldn’t be affected by the DMA provisions, but WhatsApp — which uses the Signal protocol and is owned by Meta — certainly would be. The result could be that some, if not all, of WhatsApp’s end-to-end messaging encryption is weakened or removed, robbing a billion users of the protections of private messaging.
As analyst Benedict Evans tweeted, this is an example of politicians demanding technical limitations are magically waved away by apparently all-powerful software engineers. When you’re talking about the mathematics of encryption this isn’t an issue of R&D, it’s simply a case that it just won’t work. You can’t ‘nerd harder’ to fix issues like this.
And WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart is concerned about how the new law could affect his app. He told Casey Newton this week it could increase spam and misinformation while harming user privacy.
Policy is often about trade-offs, and as important as it is to fight the dominance of a few big companies, the trade-offs in the EU’s latest proposal make it a raw deal for end users.
It was undoubtedly the biggest news story of the week, but Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars was bigger than that for social media.
As Variety reported, “the 94th Academy Awards ignited Twitter and Variety’s Trending TV chart for the week of March 21 to 27, pulling in more engagements than any other TV series, award show or broadcast — including the Super Bowl — since the chart’s launch.”
The Guardian’s video of the incident broke MrBeast-sized records on YouTube, and the story was huge for news publishers. It’s a reminder that as big as social media gets, it seems there’ always room for bigger numbers and greater engagement.
It’s just a shame that it was a violent incident pushing those numbers up.
👀 Must-read of the week
Twitter's Probably Screwed
🤯 WTF?!
TikTok being used by 16% of British toddlers, Ofcom finds
📊 Stat of the week
Tap through for loads more fascinating stats.
Tap through for loads more fascinating stats.
💬 You can quote me on that
When I’m mentioned in the news, you’ll find it here…
Elon Musk says he's considering building a new social media platform
🌟 New feature of the week
Twitter ‘Collabs’ feature could make it possible for users to co-author tweets with brands
🐣 Tweet of the week
When you got the Twitter handle before your more famous namesake…
Will Smith
Real talk, I’m not the person you’re upset/happy with. I make podcasts and video games for a living.

At the risk of making people pissed off at me instead of that other guy, the world would be a better place if we stopped answering words with violence.
❓ Question of the week
It’s April Fool’s Day, so let’s find out which brands have come up with the best ideas. Share your finds here 👇
Matt Navarra
The best April Fools tweets by brands on Twitter

Reply to this thread with any you spot
🔵 Meta news
All the latest from Meta brands: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and beyond:
Facebook’s TikTok clone Reels is also its future
  • Meta gave data to hackers armed with forged legal requests, it has been reported. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • Keeping up with frequently changing wartime rules has been a challenge for Meta’s moderators. [New York Times $$$]
  • A new draft agreement on data flows between the EU and US should mean those warnings of Meta shutting down in Europe won’t come to pass. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook’s interest targeting is inaccurate around 30% of the time, a new study has found. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook drives climate sceptics to full-on denial, new research says. [BBC News]
  • Scammers are advertising access to Facebook Media Portal to verify accounts. [Motherboard]
  • Meta is cracking down on ‘watchbait’ video titles and descriptions. [Social Media Today]
  • Wendy’s has opened a restaurant in Horizon Worlds. [AdAge $$$]
  • Meta faces a class action for allegedly deceiving advertisers about its ‘potential reach’ tool. [CNN]
  • Whistleblower Frances Haugen has laid into Nick Clegg’s support of Mark Zuckerberg. [Deadline]
  • Meta will hold an event about business messaging on 19 May. [Meta for Business]
  • WhatsApp has added Telemundo and TelevisaUnivision to its global fact-checking programme. [AdWeek $$$]
  • A melancholy alternative to Instagram has been mooted in Russia as a reaction to the Meta app’s ban. [NBC News]
  • Meta will hold a Quest gaming showcase event on 20 April. [Road to VR]
  • Meta’s London offices have been officially opened by Charles and Camilla. [Meta Newsroom]
New features and tests:
Facebook:
  • Facebook is encouraging users to make Reels instead of Stories. [@yousufortacom]
  • Facebook is testing a ‘+’ button in Groups, which seemingly gives an option to post anonymous posts or photos. [@oncescuradu]
  • Meta will combine ad topics and interest categories into a single ad topics control from 11 April. [AdWeek $$$]
Instagram:
  • Instagram has launched a bunch of new messaging features, including music sharing, ‘reply while browsing’ and online status indicators. [TechCrunch]
  • Instagram is testing a TikTok-style, full-screen main feed. [Social Media Today]
  • Instagram is helping users find out about social movements, in a new test. [TechCrunch]
  • Instagram is testing a Mute button for Reels. [@beto011120]
  • Instagram has been spotted suggesting live shopping videos between posts in the feed. [@LindseyGamble_]
  • Instagram could soon let you reply to Stories with a voice message. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is working on the ability to share posts via a QR code. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is building a subscriber-only content tab for profiles. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram could soon get WhatsApp-like text formatting options for messages. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram appears to be close to launching ‘Remix for photos’. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram place pages could soon have a Reels tab. [@alex193a]
Messenger:
  • Messenger has added Slack-like text shortcuts including ‘@everyone’ and ‘/silent’. [TechCrunch]
WhatsApp:
  • WhatsApp is rolling out new voice messaging features including out-of-chat playback and pause/resume recording. [TechCrunch]
  • WhatsApp is testing letting uses send files of up to 2GB in size. [WABetaInfo]
  • WhatsApp’s Android beta include tests of additional emoji. [WABetaInfo]
🐣 Twitter news
Joseph Kelly spared jail for tweet about Captain Tom Moore
  • Twitter has added Cision, Khoros, and Synthesio to its Official Partner Program. [Twitter Business]
  • A Greenpeace-operated bot on Twitter is tracking Russian oil and gas tankers. [Protocol]
New features and tests:
  • New details have emerged of Twitter’s upcoming ‘Collabs’ feature. [TechCrunch]
  • Twitter has rolled out Professional Accounts to all users. [Social Media Today]
  • Twitter is testing three new ad formats: interactive text ads, product explorer ads, and collection ads. [Twitter Business]
  • Twitter Communities admins can now add and remove mods from the member list on iOS and Android. [@HiCommunities]
  • Twitter has launched Communities search on iOS. [@HiCommunities]
  • Twitter is testing improvements to the Spaces discovery tab. [@TwitterSpaces]
  • Twitter for iOS no longer supports iPhone 6. [9to5Mac]
  • Twitter is now asking users to rate recommended tweets. [@JackHorwood]
  • Twitter is even closer to adding TweetDeck to Twitter Blue. [The Verge]
  • Twitter is building analytics for videos attached to tweets. [@nima_owji]
  • Twitter is working on improved control of sensitive media. [@alex193a]
  • Twitter is developing some kind of ‘vibe’ feature. [@alex193a]
  • Twitter is working on a ‘friends of friends’ section in Blue’s Top Articles section. [@alex193a]
  • Twitter could soon show more details about NFT profile pictures. [@alex193a]
🔺 TikTok news
Teen Girls Are Still Getting TikTok-Related Tics—and Other Disorders
  • TikTok has been accused of contributing to taboos around menstruation. [Input]
  • TikTok had its first prominent moment at the Oscars, at this year’s ceremony. [The Hollywood Reporter]
  • A TikTok user has leveraged the platform to spam a website with 23,500 fake job applications for scab positions, in support of striking workers. [Motherboard]
  • TikTok has announced the jury for its short film competition at the Cannes Film Festival. [Variety]
New features and tests:
  • TikTok has launched a new GIF library feature in partnership with Giphy. [TechCrunch]
  • TikTok is testing search ads with select partners. [Social Media Today]
  • TikTok is to provide more resources to trans and non-binary users through a partnership with It Gets Better. [@v_ness]
  • TikTok has been spotted offering a ‘watch history’ feature. [TechCrunch]
  • TikTok has moved the ‘Saved’ button to the bottom nav bar. [@KenSchillinger]
  • TikTok has added a ‘Live Center’ tab that offers rewards for learning how to go live. [@jonah_manzano]
💥 More social media news and updates
Does Social Media Make Teens Unhappy? It May Depend on Their Age.
  • Snap and TikTok should offer more parental controls, US state attorneys general have said in a letter. [New York Times $$$]
  • YouTube has been threatened with fines in Russia. It’s the last major US social platform to operate there. [Washington Post $$$]
  • YouTube is planning to catch up with Spotify when it comes to features for podcasters, according to leaked documents. [Podnews]
  • Snap will hold its next partner summit on 28 April. [Social Media Today]
  • China is reportedly planning to further restrict live video streams, including a cap on daily tipping and more censorship. [Wall Street Journal $$$]
  • US Post Office investigators illegally used social media surveillance powers. [Motherboard]
  • Ukraine war explainers on Snapchat seem to be a hit for the UK’s Channel 4 News. [Press Gazette]
  • Right-wing focused video service Rumble wants to build an alternative internet separate from ‘Big Tech’. [New York Times $$$]
  • The incoming chair of Ofcom, which will soon regulate social platforms in the UK, says he does not use social media. [The Guardian]
  • LinkedIn has a problem with fake profiles created by A.I. [NPR]
  • An app called BeReal is finding a role on US college campuses as a ‘casual Instagram’. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • Pinterest has invested a further $1.2m in its creator fund. [AdWeek $$$]
  • Signups to Trump’s Truth Social platform have reportedly dropped 93% since launch week. [The Wrap]
  • …and even Trump himself isn’t using Truth Social yet. [Mashable]
New features and tests:
  • YouTube is rolling out picture-in-picture at last on iOS 15+, but only for YouTube TV. [The Verge]
  • YouTube has launched new profile rings for Stories and Live, and is enabling ‘Mentions’ for all channels. [Social Media Today]
  • YouTube is testing the ability to leave emoji reactions a specific points in a video and has updated Community Polls. [Social Media Today]
  • YouTube wants to help users find the right video with a new ‘search chips’ feature test. [Search Engine Journal]
  • YouTube has shuttered its ‘Maximize Lift’ ad bidding tool. [AdWeek $$$]
  • Snapchat now lets you share videos from the YouTube app as a sticker. [Social Media Today]
  • LinkedIn is introducing new analytics and video features for creators. [Engadget]
  • LinkedIn will soon let you display skills for your individual job experiences listed on your profile. [Building LinkedIn]
  • LinkedIn is adding a ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ skill that members can use to tell others that they are dyslexic. [@MattNavarra]
  • LinkedIn is testing a Slideshows feature. [@nima_owji]
  • LinkedIn has launched a new Learning Pathfinder tool to help users find suitable courses to boost their careers. [Adweek $$$]
  • Twitch’s desktop app will shut down at the end of this month. [Digital Trends]
  • Reddit has brought back its r/Place April Fool’s Day event. [9to5Mac]
  • Clubhouse now lets you set your profile as ‘protected’. [TechCrunch]
  • Clubhouse is developing Games rooms. [@alex193a]
  • Tumblr has expanded tipping so you can tip blogs as well as posts. [TechCrunch]
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Get in touch: matt@mattnavarra.com
📖 Weekend reading
As YouTube’s Biggest Creators Burn Out, The Platform Is Facing An Identity Crisis
😳 And finally...
As you settle down with your new favourite Netflix series this weekend, take a moment to appreciate the genius of a certain button…
📅 Back next week...
…Nice work my friend!
You have reached the end.
#GeekedOut ✅
Right.. Time for me to go grab the vodka and add some of this. 😵‍💫
The weekend has officially started!
Goodbye, geeks!
— Matt
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This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
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