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This is the beginning of the end…

Geekout Newsletter
Issue #26 • View online
Hello, geeks!
Happy New Year, and all that jazz!
Hope you all had a chance for mini digital detox. I surprised myself at how easy I found it to switch off from social media these past few weeks. I think I was just fed up of reading about Covid-19, tbh. Anyway…(rolls up sleeves) let’s get back to it, we have a lot to catch up on!
I see 2021 has started with a (social media) bang, what with Trump FINALLY getting banned or restricted on most of the major social platforms. Loooong overdue. It feels like the beginning of the end for him. I give it two weeks before Trumpy starts promoting his presence on Gab, Parler, or any shady, dark corner of the web that will host him. We will dig into all this in a moment.
HIDDEN GEM | | A FREE tool to add links to your TikTok videos. Not perfect, but could be handy to a few of you. Check it out here.
Meanwhile, Facebook has killed Page Likes. A new ‘Pages Experience’ was officially launched this week, bringing a host of changes and new features. The focus is now on follows, instead of Page Likes.
This change makes sense given I myself often want to follow a Page, but I don’t want to express I ‘Like’ the Page. The other changes all feel fairly incremental and useful. Check your Page now to see if yours has been switched to the new design yet, and let me know what you think.
Here are a bunch of other things spotted in the past few weeks:
Consider that your starter. Here comes the main course. A lot of new social stuff went down in the past few weeks. I will bring you up to speed and make you look good when your boss or colleagues ask for an update on social. 
Let’s do this!
— Matt
P.S: I have hidden a magic-link to access Geekout on Discord somewhere in this week’s newsletter. Be quick…The link expires after 100 uses! Can you find it?

🚨 Everyone's talking about...
The events in Washington, DC on Wednesday shocked (but maybe didn’t surprise) the world, and they turned out to finally provide the catalyst some of the social networks needed to take action some commentators have been demanding for years.
To reduce the risk of additional violence, Twitter locked Trump’s account for 12 hours; Snapchat locked his account indefinitely, as did Twitch; Reddit was extra vigilant, and TikTok removed videos of the storming of the Capitol and blocked related hashtags. Advertisers reacted too, pausing their activity on social platforms until things calmed down.
But it was Facebook’s move to ban Trump ‘indefinitely’ (meaning at least for two weeks, if not longer) that attracted the most attention. I’ve written in this newsletter regularly about how Facebook has been far more restrained with how it moderated conservative voices than it sometimes should have been.
Now, with the Republicans no longer controlling the Senate, and Joe Biden confirmed as the next President, Facebook has taken the kind of step many would argue it should have taken long ago. But of course now there’s very little risk in Facebook doing it now Trump and his supporters have much less political clout.
As Will Oremus wrote for OneZero, “this was never about respect for the office of the presidency, it was about deference to power.” That said, it’s worth reading Instagram chief Adam Mosseri’s response to the article, and the various journalists who chip in to counter him.
I shared more thoughts on banning Trump in a Twitter thread, yesterday.
The outdated and unnecessary ‘Like’ button for Facebook Pages is no more. That’s just one of a bunch of significant changes to Pages this week that include a redesigned layout, a dedicated News Feed, and improved admin controls, notifications, and safety features.
A big push to update Pages will be welcome to those who make big use of the feature, but it wasn’t enough for some. Gizmodo argued: “If Facebook really wanted to create a better user experience and build goodwill, it would kill every damn Like button on every platform it owns and refocus on a chronological feed.”
When WhatsApp got acquired by Facebook, it swore it wouldn’t share any user data with Facebook. But I think we all knew deep down that it was only a matter of time before that changed. It’s always the case with these deals eventually, isn’t it?
One month from today, WhatsApp users will have their “account registration and phone number, transaction data, service-related information, interaction information, mobile device information, IP address, and ‘other information identified… or obtained upon notice to you or based on your consent.’”
It’s worth noting that the actual contents of chats and calls won’t be absorbed into the Facebook machine because of end-to-end encryption, and European users are spared from any of their data being shared with Facebook. This includes UK users, for the time being.
One winner from WhatsApp’s change in data policy is rival encrypted messaging app Signal. It’s reported a big boost in signups since the change was announced. A recommendation from Elon Musk can’t have hurt, either.
Meanwhile, Telegram was quick with the snark…
👀 ICYMI...
Stories you need to know about:
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
Facebook Smart Glasses Coming ‘Sooner Than Later’ Without AR
  • Facebook managers criticised their company’s own ad targeting tech, according to documents revealed in a lawsuit. [The Intercept]
  • Facebook has admitted its automated tools are not perfect, following complaints from advertisers that they get locked out of their accounts for no good reason. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • WhatsApp says more than 1.4 billion voice and video calls were made on New Year’s Eve 2020 globally, the most ever calls in a single day on the platform. [Facebook Newsroom]
  • Facebook has told businesses it has no choice but to comply with Apple’s new user-tracking opt-in option, despite its recent protest campaign. [9to5Mac]
  • Facebook has been ordered to pay $4.7m after a court ruled it had copied its Nearby feature from an Italian developer’s app. [The Verge]
  • Facebook Gaming has added 28m gamers since March 2020, according to a new report from the company. [Facebook Gaming]
  • Covid-19 vaccine misinformation is still thriving on Facebook and Instagram, research shows. [The Guardian]
  • Facebook’s advertising integrity chief, Rob Leathern has left the company. [Reuters]
  • Quitting Facebook can make you happier, according to a recent study. [Bloomberg $$$]
  • Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first person to reach a quarter of a billion Instagram followers. [The Week]
Twitter acquires social podcasting app Breaker, team to help build Twitter Spaces
  • Twitter has also ‘acqui-hired’ creative agency Ueno to bolster its staff’s design chops. [TechCrunch]
  • Twitter will reset the official @POTUS account to 0 followers for Joe Biden, rather than porting them across from Donald Trump’s tenure. [The Verge]
TikTok Gives Rare Look Into U.K. Business With $119 Million Loss
  • TikTok faces a UK lawsuit from a 12-year-old-girl and the Children’s Commissioner, for data misuse. [Sky News]
  • The Ratatouille musical developed on TikTok has sold more than $1m worth of tickets. [The Verge]
  • Enterprise software Notion has oddly gone viral on TikTok. [The Verge]
And the rest:
Telegram, nearing 500 million users, to begin monetizing the app
  • Telegram can be used to pinpoint users’ exact locations, but the company doesn’t see this as an issue. [Android Police]
  • Google and Snap are reportedly both in talks to invest in Indian social network ShareChat. [TechCrunch]
  • Facebook and Snap are at most risk from Apple’s forthcoming user-tracking changes, according to analysts. [CNBC]
  • ‘Unreliable’ sources of news were shared more in 2020 than 2019, according to NewsGuard. [Axios]
  • YouTube reversed a ban on UK radio station Talk Radio’s account, reportedly after station owner Rupert Murdoch personally intervened. []
  • Voat has shut down. The ‘free-speech’ alternative to Reddit could not continue after a key investor pulled out. [The Verge]
  • Hootsuite has acquired customer engagement platform Sparkcentral. [VentureBeat]
  • The UK government is actively monitoring the spread of Covid-19 conspiracy theories on social media. [Business Insider]
  • Adweek has acquired Social Media Week, a tie-up that makes sense as the events business struggles due to the pandemic. [Adweek]
❓ Question of the week
A new year means it’s a good time for new social media goals (or aspirations!).
Take a look what other SMMs are hoping to achieve, and maybe share your own by clicking through on the tweet below. 👇
Matt Navarra
Social Media Managers:

What's your personal social media manager goal for 2021?
🔨 Tool of the week
🧵 Thread of the week
Check out this epic thread of the best cringe viral UK TV news clips from 2020.
Scott Bryan
We all need a bit of a lift, so here’s my favourite BBC News / Sky News / other British news moments of 2020.
📲 Quick hits
Updates, experiments, and useful info snippets:
  • Facebook appears to have been testing a TikTok-style way of navigating the News Feed. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook has been spotted running Instagram ads featuring small business owners complaining about the effect the forthcoming iOS 14 user-tracking opt-in will supposedly have on their businesses. [@AkvileDeFazio]
  • Facebook Groups have a new moderation option to require post edits to be approved. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook Group admins can also now turn on alerts for previously approved posts which then get edited by the author. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook Groups also have a new ‘affiliation’ option. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook will soon support physical security keys for logging into its mobile app. [Reuters]
  • Facebook testing a new UI for composing new posts on iOS. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook is rolling out an ‘Engagement Alerts’ feature for Groups to more admins. [@MattNavarra]
  • A ‘Nominate a Friend’ feature has been spotted on Facebook, to encourage friends to creates posts like yours. [@nyactor]
  • Facebook is working on a way for Marketplace sellers to let customers know when they’re on vacation. [@alex193a]
  • I’ve spotted a ‘resources’ option in Facebook for iOS… but it doesn’t do anything. [@MattNavarra]
  • A ‘Trash and Archive’ feature for has been spotted on Facebook. [@mamun91bd]
  • Facebook has revealed new tips to maximise lead generation via Facebook posts and ads. [Social Media Today]
  • Facebook is running webinars about the impact of Apple’s user-tracking opt-in changes. [Social Media Today]
  • Instagram is testing a new design on desktop. [Engadget]
A look at Instagram's desktop redesign [Instagram, via Engadget]
A look at Instagram's desktop redesign [Instagram, via Engadget]
  • Instagram is showing trending GIFs and Music to some users, at the top of the stickers screen. [@TexanMeg]
  • Instagram continues to work on the ability to tag people in Reels. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram has shared new tips on creating engaging Reels content. [Social Media Today]
  • WhatsApp could soon let you properly use its service over multiple devices, judging by its latest beat version. [9to5Google]
  • Twitter has been spotted notifying users about new threads. [@eskoosme]
  • Twitter for Android now supports 4K video. [Android Police]
  • Twitter has been testing showing the reason an account is verified when you tap its checkmark. [@MattNavarra]
  • Twitter Spaces is back in testing after a break over Christmas. [@TwitterSpaces]
  • Twitter says the three essentials of establishing your brand voice on the platform come down to ‘the three 'C’s’. [Social Media Today]
  • TikTok generated ‘Your Year in TikTok’ videos for users. Sharing the videos unlocked a ‘2021’ badge. [TikTok newsroom]
  • TikTok has launched a new small business resource centre. [Social Media Today]
  • TikTok has rolled out its first lidar-powered AR effect. [TechCrunch]
TikTok's first Lidar-powered effect. [Credit: TikTok]
TikTok's first Lidar-powered effect. [Credit: TikTok]
  • David Bowie’s music has been added to TikTok. [TikTok newsroom]
  • TikTok appears to have added support for 1080p video uploads. [@MattNavarra]
  • TikTok has started rolling out its own copyright management tool, called MediaMatch. [@liamseys]
  • YouTube has added a shortcut to Shorts for users in India. [Social Media Today]
  • Entries are open for the YouTube Works Awards 2021. The awards celebrate the most effective use of YouTube in ad campaigns in the US. [Adweek]
  • Snapchat has relaunched its Partner Solutions Program. [Social Media Today]
  • Snapchat has explored letting you dress your Bitmoji in real retailers’ clothes, according to a patent filing. [Social Media Today]
  • LinkedIn has introduced a redesigned ‘Trending’ notification. [@MattNavarra]
  • Google is testing a carousel of search results from Instagram and TikTok. [TechCrunch]
  • Google has launched a ‘Question Hub’ to help US publishers find questions Google Search is currently unable to answer, so they can write content fill the gap. [Search Engine Land]
  • Twitch has removed PogChomp, one of its most popular emotes. [Slashgear]
  • Reddit is experimenting with notifications that go straight to the user’s inbox, skipping their phone. [Adweek]
  • Clubhouse is testing an invite-only “Creator Pilot Program” with influencers. [New York Times $$$]
  • Telegram has introduced a persistent group voice chat feature. [Telegram blog]
📖 Weekend reading
Instagram, YouTube & TikTok Are Burning Out Their Creators. Here’s How to Fix That.
😳 And finally....
AND: The new CIA logo is being brutally mocked.
📅 Back next week...
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Thanks for reading!
See you back here next week for your next geeky social debrief.
Goodbye, geeks!
— Matt
This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
Copyright 2020: Matt Navarra Media Ltd
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