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Geekout Newsletter
Issue #28 • View online
Hello, geeks!
Written your social media team’s Clubhouse strategy yet? :)
It feels like pretty much everyone I’ve spoken in the past week has mentioned Clubhouse. Whether to ask for an invite, or to (mostly) rave about how much they love it.
I’ve spent a good few hours in various Clubhouse rooms in the past few days. It’s been a mixed bag so far. A lot of the rooms I stumbled into were U.S-centric and often felt dominated by Gary Vee-style hustler / growth hacker “experts” imparting their wisdom on anyone who would listen. However, I have been in some less shouty rooms where smart and insightful conversations were taking place. If you’ve managed to get in, how have you found it so far?
HIDDEN GEM | | A clever little tool to create ‘mailto’ hyperlinks with subject, body, bcc, and cc pre-populated.
I enjoyed reading Benedict Evans’ post about the ongoing debate and disagreement over defining what Facebook is. More specifically, is Facebook a publisher, a communications company, a media company, something distinctly different from all of these things, or just a hybrid of all of them? It’s something regulators, governments, users, and Facebook itself can’t seem to agree on.
The question is… does it matter? Some argue it’s critical to make such a distinction in order to create the rules governments, users (and Facebook) are crying out for. Others are less convinced. What do you think?
Here are a few other things I spotted this week which you may interest you too:
Ok… Let’s dive into this week’s top stories and all the shiny new stuff spotted this week.
— Matt
P.S. Join me on Clubhouse at 4pm GMT today (Fri 22 Jan) for Geekout Weekly. Martin SFP Bryant and I will be hanging out chatting about all the big social media news stories from this week. See you there!
P.P.S. Geekout is a FREE newsletter that takes a full day of my time to produce for us all every week.
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🚨 Everyone's talking about...
Facebook’s Oversight Board has its first really big, high-profile challenge. Although it has yet to rule on the cases it was presented with late last year, a humdinger just landed in its lap — should Facebook ban Trump forever?
In its official announcement of the referral, Facebook says “we believe our decision was necessary and right. Given its significance, we think it is important for the board to review it and reach an independent judgment on whether it should be upheld.”
Given the storm of controversy tech companies banning an elected president has caused, farming out a final decision to an external body makes sense for Facebook — it shows a level of external confirmation that it was the right move, and deflects any blowback away from the company.
That said, the Oversight Board is paid for by Facebook, so no matter how independent their decision may be, if they uphold the ban, critics can just claim they’re biased because of who pays them for their time.
Elsewhere, YouTube extended Trump’s suspension on its platform for another week, and Amazon-owned Twitch made its own ban indefinite. If Trump thought he could spend his time at Mar-a-Lago firing his base back up, it seems he’s mistaken… for now, at least.
The epic backlash against WhatsApp has had a real impact. The controversial (but misunderstood) privacy policy change has been been put back for three months so the company can spend time communicating better about what it means.
We’re yet to see exactly what that communication will involve (beyond a change of Twitter bio), but WhatsApp has a challenge on its hands now to put the genie back in the bottle after the new privacy policy freaked users out so much that many downloaded alternative messaging apps.
WhatsApp’s biggest market, India, is where the fight could be the hardest. It’s facing pressure from the government there to withdraw the new policy completely.
This one flew under the radar a little bit, but it’s an important story. Twitter and Pinterest refused to comply with a new law in Turkey that requires them to have a local representative who can be liable if their platform doesn’t remove content at the request of the government.
Amnesty International has said companies who comply with the rule risk becoming tools of state censorship.
While Facebook, Google, and YouTube have all complied, Twitter and Pinterest face penalties for not playing ball. They are both now unable to take advertising revenue in Turkey.
What’s more, as Reuters reports, “Twitter and Pinterest’s bandwidth would be cut by 50% in April and by 90% in May.” This would essentially render them slow and much less reliable to use in Turkey by the summer. Unable to make money or be accessed by users? Turkey is essentially choking their businesses in the country to death.
Authoritarians around the world will be keeping an eye on this playbook.
👀 ICYMI...
Stories you need to know about:
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
“If They Won’t Hear Us, They Will Fear Us”: How The Capitol Assault Was Planned On Facebook
  • The head of Instagram says he isn’t happy with Reels yet, and they may “simplify and consolidate” parts of the app. [The Verge]
  • New details have emerged of the advertising deal Google cut with Facebook and why 10 US state attorneys general are unhappy with it. [New York Times $$$]
  • Facebook has developed A.I. models that could help hospitals predict how much care each Covid-19 patient will need. [CNet]
  • Facebook has admitted that end-to-end message encryption will cause problems for work to prevent child exploitation. [The Guardian]
  • Facebook blocked the listing of events near the White House until after inauguration day as it prepared for any disturbances to the day. [The Verge]
  • Facebook should prioritise user privacy when building products, VP Andrew Bosworth argued in a recent internal memo. [OneZero]
  • Facebook is under pressure to start scanning messages for child abuse in EU again. [The Guardian]
  • Facebook has asked for a grace period ahead of implementation of the “complex, unpredictable and unworkable” rules to make tech companies pay for news content. [The Guardian]
  • Far-right conspiracy theorists have taken over a popular Facebook Group about UK land sales. [The Guardian]
Inside Twitter's Decision to Cut Off Donald J. Trump
  • Twitter’s new verification policy kicks in from today. [Social Media Today]
  • Twitter Moments are now available off the platform for the first time. Indian social app Dailyhunt displays the curated collections of newsworthy tweets in a dedicated section. [TechCrunch]
  • Joe Biden’s @POTUS account gained 5m followers in under 24 hours, after Twitter purged the handle of its 33m followers. [Business Insider]
  • Twitter’s ‘Bluesky’ decentralisation project has shared an update on its progress. There’s still a long way to go, and the group still doesn’t have a formal leader. [The Verge]
Biden set to inherit Trump's TikTok conundrum
  • Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, has launched an e-wallet to challenge the country’s big payment services. [TechCrunch]
And the rest:
Snapchat Wants You to Post. They’re Willing to Pay Millions.
  • The much-discussed Section 230 protections enjoyed by US tech companies may still be under threat from the Biden administration. [Washington Post $$$]
  • Reddit has banned a community that shared stolen OnlyFans content. [Motherboard]
  • Algorithms should be policed by regulators, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has argued. [Financial Times $$$]
  • The US has urged Australia to ditch its plan to make tech companies pay news publishers to link to their stories. [The Guardian]
  • The developers of Among Us are struggling to keep up with moderation demands as abuse plagues the hit social game. [OneZero]
  • Signal suffered downtime as users rushed to sign up for the messaging service. [Slashgear]
  • The European parliament may threaten Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple with sanctions if they don’t attend an online hearing about tax and competition policy. [Financial Times $$$]
  • UK MPs grilled social media execs about their role in the storming of the Capitol. [BBC News]
  • Apple has been sued by a group called the Coalition for a Safer Web, for keeping Telegram on the App Store while removing Parler. [Apple Insider]
  • Triller is set to advertise during the Super Bowl for the first time. [AdAge]
  • O2 and eBay are the first brands to test Snapchat’s ‘First Commercial’ ad product in the UK. [The Drum]
  • Tesla is hiring someone specifically to handle angry people tweeting complaints at Elon Musk. [Futurism]
❓ Question of the week
The best worst pro-tips for becoming an influencer are 👌
Take a look and share your own 😆
Matt Navarra
what's your hot tip for becoming an influencer?

wrong answers only.
🔨 Tool of the week
Clubhouse Bio Creator
🐣 Tweet of the week
🔍 Insights
  • Twitter has shared tips on how to improve your approach to Twitter Ads. [Social Media Today]
  • New to TikTok advertising? The company has published a video explaining how to get started. [Social Media Today]
  • TikTok has highlighted some of the small- and medium-sized businesses that thrived on the platform in 2020. [Social Media Today]
  • YouTube has explained how views of its Shorts format are counted. [Social Media Today]
  • LinkedIn has launched on-demand video courses to help advertisers succeed on the platform. [Search Engine Land]
📲 Quick hits
Updates, experiments, and useful info snippets:
  • Facebook is testing a ‘Short Video’ button. It lets users create or upload videos of up to 26 seconds. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook can now automatically generate better text descriptions of photographs, with A.I. recognising 10x more objects in photos. [TechCrunch]
  • Facebook now has a dedicated Event type for classes. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook will remove the ‘Our Story’ section from Pages next month. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook is rolling out an ‘Account Issues’ dashboard for businesses. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook is still preparing advertisers, developers, and partners for the upcoming tracker-blocking feature in iOS. A new version of its Platform SDK is the latest development. [Adweek $$$]
  • Facebook is testing a new ‘Then & Now’ feature for Memories. [@mamun91bd]
  • TikTok has introduced a Q&A feature. It lets followers leave questions for creators, which they can answer via video replies or in a livestream. [Social Media Today]
TikTok's Q&A feature.
TikTok's Q&A feature.
  • Clubhouse has introduced a feature that lets room moderators report trolls, leading them to be permanently banned. Hopefully there are safeguards against this being misused. [@MattNavarra]
  • YouTube has rolled out hashtag landing pages to all users. [TechCrunch]
  • YouTube now supports HDR video on Xbox consoles. [The Verge]
  • Snapchat is testing dark mode on iOS. [iMore]
  • Snapchat introduced a lens to let Joe Biden supporters attend his inauguration even though it was closed to the public. [The Independent]
  • Reddit has upgraded its avatar tech and rolled out the new notification inbox. [Adweek $$$]
  • Pinterest has introduced a new dynamic creative ad specialty that lets brands work with partners like RevJet, and StitcherAds. [Adweek $$$]
  • Pinterest now has a section to highlight Story Pins. [Social Media Today]
  • LinkedIn has introduced a filter to help you target invitations to follow your company page. [@Jens_Polo]
  • Ad and content platform Taboola is the latest place you’ll find Stories 😳 [Adweek]
📖 Weekend reading
Brands respond to Joe Biden’s inauguration
😳 And finally....
📅 Back next week...
That’s a wrap! You are fully updated.
Psst! Want to join the new Geekout Discord server? It’s your lucky day.

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Have a great weekend, peoples!
Goodbye geeks!
— Matt
This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
Copyright 2021: Matt Navarra Media Ltd
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