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Geekout Newsletter
Issue #45 • View online
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Hello, Geeks!
I have some bad news that could offend you. You might be a ‘geriatric millennial’. Check here to confirm.
To be honest, it’s one of the less offensive things I have been called on Twitter (every cloud…).
There isn’t a day that goes by without Clubhouse being in the news. And increasingly the news headlines are far less positive than only a few months ago when it was all “Clubhouse valued at $4 billion” or “Clubhouse invites selling on eBay for $500”.
In the past month, I have only opened the Clubhouse app about three times. Why? It sucks at suggesting rooms I might have an interest in joining, for starters. And it’s not just me who has stopped drinking the Clubhouse Kool-Aid. Check out these comments. Clubhouse has got problems.
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Geekout launched its NEW newsletter, Tech Revolution this week! It’s your guide to the future, every Wednesday. Check out the first issue and join the 1,000+ people who have already subscribed!
Right then…! Let’s dive into the week’s top talking points in the world of social media.
— Matt
Join us for Geekout Weekly on Twitter Spaces today (Fri 14 May) at 4pm [UK] where we’ll be discussing all this week’s social media news, scandals, and top new features.
Thanks to Spaces’ new scheduling option, you can set yourself a reminder.
See you there!

🚨 Everyone's talking about...
Let the floodgates open! Twitter has announced it is rolling out its new self-service account verification application process over the next few weeks. It will appear in your in-app account settings.
But while it will be easy to apply, that doesn’t mean it will be easy to get that checkmark. You need to be a notable figure in one of the following categories: Government; Companies; brands and organizations; News organizations and journalists; Entertainment; Sports and gaming, and Activists, organizer and other influential individuals. New categories for scientists, academics, and religious leaders will be added during the summer.
Apparently there are currently only 360,000 verified Twitter accounts right now, and while not everyone who wants it will get a checkmark, now there’s a clear, straightforward application process I imagine we’ll see that number shoot up.
The new process is a relief for people like me who get asked to help get people verified all the time (no, I can’t help you!), and even more so for Twitter employees. But Instagram chief Adam Mosseri warned them from personal experience that just because you have a clear application process, the DMs don’t stop! 😳
Alongside the verification news, Twitter showed off a new personal profile design that displays additional information like your pronouns and whether you’ve confirmed your account via email/phone. It’s not quite a ‘blue tick’, but ‘confirmed’ status will at least help us all tell real accounts from bots. In fact, some bots will get an ‘automated’ label from this July, and Twitter is considering labels for humour and satire accounts, too.
Meanwhile, Jane Manchun Wong’s latest scoop into the innards of Twitter’s code dug out details of ‘Twitter Blue’ the apparent name for its upcoming subscription offering. But if the information is accurate, Twitter will need to offer more than ‘undo send’ and better bookmark organisation for $2.99 per month if it’s going to get people rushing to hand over their cash.
We honestly don’t give Snap enough attention. While TikTok and Instagram dominate pop culture, Facebook is the media’s favourite bad guy, and journalists still gravitate to Twitter, Snap has quietly built a growing empire.
Now at 500 million monthly active users, Snapchat is on the up. 1 billion Bitmojis are sent per day, and more than 250 million people use the Snap Map feature per month, according the company’s figures, shared at its third annual Snap Partner Summit yesterday.
But more exciting than that, Snap was the first company to show off its version of the new generation of AR glasses. The new Spectacles may not be on sale yet, but they’re out in public before Apple or Facebook’s more anticipated offerings have emerged. As the Verge reports:
The new Spectacles have dual waveguide displays capable of superimposing AR effects made with Snapchat’s software tools. The frame features four built-in microphones, two stereo speakers, and a built-in touchpad. Front-facing cameras help the glasses detect objects and surfaces you’re looking at so that graphics more naturally interact with the world around you.
Currently best thought of as a ‘developer edition’, these glasses have a 30-minute battery life and will be given to AR effect developers to see what they can build for them.
This is the right approach. As Google Glass showed us, launching to the public with a completely new product that does very little can kill enthusiasm for a project quickly. By taking the approach is has, Snap can grow excitement for the new Spectacles but only offer them to the public when it has a compelling range of things people can actually use them for.
Away from the new Spectacles, Snap also announced: new AR features for Snapchat, the ability scan outfits, AR Lego, lenses in Bumble, an iOS video editing app, and map Layers to add third-party data onto Snap Map.
However exciting that may all be, Snapchat creators may be less pleased to hear that from next month, Snap is no longer committing to paying out $1m per day to the makers of the most entertaining Spotlight content. Instead, CNN reports, there will be more sustainable features to support creators:
One new feature called Gifting lets Snapchat users pay creators. Snapchat users can purchase Snap Tokens, the app’s currency, to buy virtual gifts and send them to Snap Stars, the app’s name for verified creators. Snap and creators share the revenue, but the split was not disclosed. This type of tipping feature is available on other social platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and TikTok.
Well, you didn’t expect the giveaway to last forever did you?
‘Free speech’ app Parler returned to Apple’s App Store this week, after it made the required content moderation changes. But here’s the twist: the tighter moderation is only for the iOS app.
“Anything allowed on the Parler network but not in the iOS app will remain accessible through our web-based and Android versions,” the company confirmed.
In other words, the hateful content Apple objected to (Nazi symbols, for example) will still appear in other versions of Parler. This leads to a situation where someone might sign up to Parler on iOS and get a very different vibe from the place than those using other platforms.
It’s not clear exactly how the content is being moderated, but it’s easy to imagine a moderate right-wing politician conversing with another user via iOS without realising that user has a hate symbol on their profile. Screenshots taken on the web version could then circulate of this politician ‘hanging out with Nazis online.’
Even if we hang out in the same online spaces, our understanding of those spaces can be very different, and the problem just keeps getting more stark.
👀 ICYMI...
Stories you need to know about:
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
Facebook's EU-U.S. data flows are under threat — that may spell trouble for other tech giants
  • Facebook has failed in a bid to unpause its Giphy acquisition while UK competition regulators examine the deal’s impact further. [The Register]
  • Facebook would like other companies to make use of its Oversight Board. The big social platforms have shown no interest so far. [Engadget]
  • WhatsApp has been given until 25 May to respond to India’s request that it withdraw its new privacy policy. [TNW]
  • Facebook plans to add a pay-per-view-like option for sports leagues. [CNBC]
  • Facebook has shared an update on its efforts to deal with content removals, fake accounts, and hate speech. [Social Media Today]
  • High-profile Facebook exec Hugo Barra has left the company. He’s moving on from Facebook Reality Labs to a role in the healthtech world. [@hbarra]
Twitter says its image-cropping algorithm was biased, so it's ditching it
  • Twitter has faced criticism for the way it censored the account of a journalist reporting from near Jerusalem. [The Verge]
ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming to step down as CEO by end of 2021
  • Vaccine misinformation is getting really weird on TikTok. [Motherboard]
  • TikTok will give all its trust and safety professionals a membership with the Trust and Safety Professional Association, to help them develop their careers. [TikTok newsroom
  • TikTok and P&G have challenged the platform’s users to remake the classic ‘I’m on a horse’ Old Spice ad. [Adweek $$$]
  • PopSockets has partnered with TikTok on a phone stand aimed at creators on the platform. [MacObserver]
And the rest:
Clubhouse is now available worldwide on Android
  • Clubhouse has been sued by a company operating a sports professionals network called TheClubhouse. [Insider]
  • Twitch is reducing its subscription prices outside the US. That means streamers get less money, but they could earn more in the long run if the move leads to more subscribers signing up. [The Verge]
  • A top Twitch streamer says she had her ability to run ads revoked without warning. She says it’s because her streams are “not advertiser friendly”. [The Verge]
  • 5 billion searches are conducted on Pinterest each month. [Social Media Today]
  • The future of Reddit could be inspired by Roblox, Reddit’s CEO has said. [Quartz]
❓ Question of the week
I’ve been in some seriously weird places or situations when I’ve needed to tweet something for a client or a former employer (The Next Web, UK Government)…
Well, it turns out a LOT of you have too!
The EPIC replies to this thread demonstrates the insane levels of dedication + commitment social media managers have for their work:
Matt Navarra
Social media managers…

the strangest place you’ve been when you had to quickly post something for work
My favourite reply so far… (Iceland is a discount frozen foods chain in the UK, in case you were wondering)
David Levin
@MattNavarra I once tweeted for an American pop singer about living her best life in Los Angeles. (from my flat in Hackney above Iceland)
📩 In the DMs
Geeky social media gossip and red-hot rumours…
💬 You can quote me on that
When I get quoted in the news, you’ll find it here…
The app that lets you pay to control another person's life
🤔 Thought for the week
BuzzFeed’s Ryan Mac on the sniping between Signal and WhatsApp…
Ryan Mac🙃
It’s funny to me that one of the main funders of Signal got billions of dollars by selling WhatsApp to Facebook and is now using some of that money to kill the thing he created.
🐣 Tweet of the week
We’ve all had one those messages from old school ‘friends’ that just make you 🙄
three steaks pam
when someone that bullied you at school sends you an instagram message that starts with “Hi lovely!” you just know they’re in a pyramid scheme
📈 Stat of the week
This stat will be keeping Zuckerberg up at night…
Turner Novak 🍌🧢
Wow - per AppAnnie data, TikTok now has just as much total time spent in the US as the FB blue app. It passed IG at the beginning of 2020, now 3x more total time spent than IG.
🔍 Insights
Social media data, insights and reports to give you an edge at work:
  • Want to make better use of live video in Facebook Workplace? The company has a new guide for you. [Social Media Today]
  • Need a better understanding of Facebook’s ad approvals system? A new explainer will help. [Social Media Today]
📲 Quick hits
Updates, experiments, and useful info snippets:
  • Facebook is to run 30-minute live shopping events called Live Shopping Fridays, weekly for the next three months. [Digiday $$$]
  • Facebook has brought its experimental couples-focused app Tuned to Android. [Adweek $$$]
  • Facebook now lets Group admins set a ‘sort comments’ default to apply to all posts. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook has redesigned its Transparency Center. [@MattNavarra]
  • Instagram has been spotted offering an upload button for IGTV videos on desktop. [@ahmedghanem]
  • Instagram is working on longer lifespans for disappearing messages in chat, such as 24 hours. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is developing a refresh to IGTV payments. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is building a new privacy option to allow you to hide or show when you’re are active with another account, for example being in the same thread. [@alex193a]
  • WhatsApp could soon let you transfer your chat history to a new phone number. [WABetaInfo]
  • WhatsApp is testing a feature that lets you to permanently hide archived chats… even if a new message arrives in it. [WABetaInfo]
  • WhatsApp is working on disappearing messages on iOS. [WABetaInfo]
  • The Oculus Quest platform has received a big update that lets you record gameplay and yourself, and much more. [The Verge]
Credit: Oculus
Credit: Oculus
  • Amazon has reportedly delisted the Oculus Quest 2 in multiple markets over a skin irritation issue. [TechRadar]
  • Facebook is working on a social VR experience for the Home environment on Oculus Quest. [UploadVR]
  • Oculus Air Link has been updated to support 120Hz wireless PC VR gaming on Quest 2… if your PC can handle it. [Android Central]
  • Twitter has been spotted testing an updated Moments layout on desktop. [@brucefloyd]
  • Twitter is adding a blue circle to users’ avatars in the feed, if they have a fleet you haven’t seen. This joins the purple circle for a live Space. [@TwitterSupport]
  • Twitter has previewed a Spaces update that will allow two additional co-hosts. [@TwitterSpaces]
  • Twitter has updated its API to give third-party apps access to Likes data and block lists. [9to5Mac]
  • Twitter is working on ‘autoblock,’ which will stop you interactive with accounts in ‘safety mode’ if your replies seem harmful, repetitive or uninvited. [@wongmjane]
  • TikTok has launched tools to let creators bulk delete and report comments, and block users. [TechCrunch]
  • TikTok hosted a live global event this week, highlighting some of the world’s most iconic museums. [Adweek $$$]
  • Clubhouse for iOS will soon offer a list of all the people who’ve paid you, the ability to find everyone you’ve heard in a room in the past 10 days, and more. [@Clubhouse]
  • Snapchat launched a Partner Summit lens to coincide with this week’s event. [@Snap]
  • Discord is testing the ability for creators to sell tickets to audio events. [TubeFilter]
  • Pinterest Story Pins have been revamped as ‘Idea Pins. Pinterest is also expanding its Analytics feature to include a new Followers and Profile Visits-driven metric. [TechCrunch]
  • YouTube is working on Studio features like auto-generated video titles and descriptions. [Social Media Today]
  • Tinder has launched an A.I.-powered warning to ask if you REALLY want to send that inappropriate flirty message. [Mashable]
📰 Weekend reading
LadBaby and the wild rise of the Facebook Famous
💀 Meme of the week
📅 Back next week...
Nice work my friend… 
…You made it to the end.
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Right… Time to go reply to the 327 people who DM’d today asking me to help get them verified.
FML. 🍷🍷🍷
Goodbye geeks!
— Matt
This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
Copyright 2021: Matt Navarra Media Ltd
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