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why facebook support is a f-ing joke

Geekout Newsletter for Social Media Managers
Issue #57 • View online
*View this newsletter online for the best reading experience*
Hello, geeks!
What a week! Whilst Twitter was killing fleets, TikTok launched TikTok Stories. Meanwhile, social media managers wept and poured more wine. More on that in a moment…
  1. TikTok launched TikTok Stories
  2. Influencers got a controversial new tool called F**k You Pay Me 
  3. Scammers will help you get anyone banned on Instagram… For $60
  4. Twitter is testing a quicker way to remove annoying followers 
  5. WhatsApp rolled out its Snapchat-like View Once feature 
  6. LinkedIn added a native video conference call feature 
  7. TikTok is killing its ‘Creator’ account type 
  8. Instagram is testing full HD in-app video recording
  9. Facebook is testing its first-ever paid movie premiere
  10. Do tweets containing links get less reach? Answers here
Facebook’s abysmal levels of support reached new lows this week. A Reddit user shared their ‘hack’ for getting someone (anyone) at Facebook to look at their help request…The hack? Buy an Oculus Quest VR headset. FFS!
By purchasing one of Facebook’s pieces of hardware, you gain access to a human being who may actually be able to help fix issues with your account. I know Facebook wants to boost sales of its VR gear to help take us into its ‘metaverse’, but…
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A quick plug for the next edition of Geekout on Twitter Spaces… You won’t want to miss this one. We’ve got two very special guests lined up for you to tune into:
Special Guests: Carole Cadwalladr & Prof. David Carroll
When: 16 August @ 4pm (BST)
Carole Cadwalladr exposed the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and Professor David Carroll is a well-known personal data activist as seen in the Netflix documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’. They’re both members of the self-styled ‘Real Facebook Oversight Board’ so this is set to be a great conversation about what’s wrong with social media and how they think it should be fixed. [GET A REMINDER]
Okay folks, it’s time to take a look at this week’s BIGGEST developments in the world of social 👇
— Matt
P.S. 🗣 There will be no Geekout Debrief on Twitter Spaces today. Apologies. Really boring reason… I urgently need to get my car fixed! Back next week.

🚨 Everyone's talking about...
It’s easy to roll your eyes at the news that TikTok is testing its own version of Stories. Emerging just hours after Twitter shut down fleets, the move looks ridiculously late to the party, and isn’t TikTok meant to be the app everyone wants to copy, not the one that copies everyone else?
But here’s the thing… TikTok Stories might actually be good. A look at the introductory video shows a feature very similar to Snapchat, Instagram, and everyone else’s Stories. But the role they could play in TikTok’s offering means they could be a real hit.
Creating a successful TikTok video isn’t punishingly hard, but it takes significantly more time and thought than posting a quick shot on Instagram. Those put off from posting on TikTok right now may move from being consumers to creators if the barrier to entry is low enough.
If TikTok can capture that ‘fun, quick, throwaway image’ aspect of people’s online output, users could be tempted to spend more time on TikTok rather than split their time with rival platforms.
Instagram’s chief Adam Mosseri was graceful in his take on the news, in a reply to me on Twitter: “This was inevitable. ByteDance has been looking for ways to get into connecting friends for years. They’re talented, they move fast, and they are nothing if not determined.”
Nice words, but no doubt he’s already busy figuring out how to counter the challenge.
Who has Facebook upset this week? Anyone keen to understand the disinformation problem on the company’s platforms.
As NPR reported:
Facebook has blocked a team of New York University researchers studying political ads and COVID-19 misinformation from accessing its site, a move that critics say is meant to silence research that makes the company look bad.
The researchers at the NYU Ad Observatory launched a tool last year to collect data about the political ads people see on Facebook. Around 16,000 people have installed the browser extension. It enables them to share data with the researchers about which ads the users are shown and why those ads were targeted at them.
Protocol has a good overview of what both sides here say about whether any data is being abused, but it’s worth noting that Facebook at first claimed it made the move “to stop unauthorized scraping and protect people’s privacy” in accordance with its agreement with the FTC following its $5bn fine for mishandling user data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The company later rowed that back, saying the NYU project didn’t violate the FTC agreement.
The confused messaging succeeded in both annoying the FTC and making Facebook’s defence for blocking the researchers look pretty shaky.
In the end, while Facebook claims it worked with NYU for months to find a way to make the research compliant with its rules, it’s just not a great look to block good-faith, opt-in research into Facebook’s effect on society. As activist David Carroll writes:
The Ad Observer browser extension is a paragon of user integrity, privacy-protecting research techniques, and fills a significant gap in the limited ad library tools supplied by Facebook for civil society’s use. Engineers at Mozilla that reviewed the open source code concur.
From a PR point of view, Facebook may wish to be the only source of data about its own platform. But given its power to influence society, Facebook should be open to sharing data for academic research, with an eye to improving its processes and being a more positive force in the world. And if it doesn’t do that by choice, it could eventually be forced by hostile politicians.
This has been a week of news about cracks in the wall of user privacy. Apple announced a new way of scanning images in iCloud, worrying privacy activists even as it pleased child safety campaigners. And the Information reported that Facebook is looking for ways to target ads based on the content of encrypted messages, something that normally wouldn’t be possible. Facebook confirmed the news.
If you don’t have a subscription to the Information, Engadget has a summary:
This area of research is called “homomorphic encryption,” which relies heavily on mathematics. Microsoft, Amazon and Google are also working on the approach. The aim of homomorphic encryption is to allow companies to read and analyze data while keeping it encrypted to protect information from cybersecurity dangers and to maintain privacy.
For what it’s worth, Facebook’s own Will Cathcart, who runs WhatsApp, seems opposed to the idea, tweeting: “We’re not pursuing homomorphic encryption for WhatsApp…. We should be skeptical of technical claims that apps like ours could see messages in "good” cases only. That’s just not how technology works.“
But even if this research is nothing more than that right now, lined up alongside the Apple news, it’s easy to see how users’ privacy could be gradually be further eroded over time, even where they think it’s secure right now.
🎧 Don't miss...
[NEW EPISODE] Geekout podcast with special guest Sophie Smith-Galer, BBC
👀 ICYMI...
Stories you need to know about:
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
Facebook let fossil-fuel industry push climate misinformation, report finds
  • Two US senators plan a hearing to look into Facebook’s products for children. [@RMac18]
  • Google has been sued for allegedly stifling competition in the ad market through a deal with Facebook. [AdAge $$$]
  • Instacart has hired former Facebook ads chief Carolyn Everson, weeks after it poached its CEO from Facebook. [CNBC]
Twitter partners with AP and Reuters to address misinformation on its platform
  • Twitter has been accused of turning a blind eye to music copyright infringement. [Variety]
  • Twitter is offering a bug bounty of up to $3,500 for researchers who can identify ways Twitter’s A.I. is biased in the ways it handles photos. [CNet]
  • Oops. Twitter made an embarrassing gaffe by verifying a fake account purporting to be run by author Cormac McCarthy. [The Guardian]
TikTok Resumes ‘Opens the Doors’ to Discrimination, Experts Warn
  • TikTok creator accounts are being merged into personal accounts, which will now offer creator tools. [Adweek $$$]
  • TikTok has partnered with Publicis Groupe to expand access to TikTok’s commerce tools. [Social Media Today]
  • TikTok is the founding sponsor of the first US Cyber Games and the US Cyber Team. [Adweek $$$]
  • American Airlines is giving passengers free in-flight access to TikTok. [Gizmodo]
And the rest…
YouTube Shorts Fund offers $10,000/month for creators
  • Twitch has overtaken YouTube when it comes to all-time revenue per download, new data shows. [SensorTower]
  • Emojipedia has been acquired by a mobile customisation company called Zedge. [Insider $$$]
  • LinkedIn has acquired Jumprope, a startup offering an app that lets users create and share tutorial videos. [Social Media Today]
  • Online ad prices have surged, driven by increased demands and tougher targeting due to Apple’s tracking changes in iOS. [Insider $$$]
  • The English FA has welcomed arrests related to racist abuse of football players on social media around Euro 2020. [@FAspokesperson]
  • Snapchat confused by users by seemingly knowing their birthday without being told, but it turns out they had been using an astrology feature and so had shared their own birthdays after all. [The Verge]
  • Snapchat topped the US App Store chart for the first time since 2018, although it seems to have been driven by users re-installing the app following technical issues. [@kyurieff]
  • Clubhouse says it now sees 600,000 rooms per day, double the figure from May. Growth is largely driven by Indian users. [Social Media Today]
  • Hootsuite has acquired a conversational A.I. company called Heyday. [TechRadar]
  • More UK adults get their news from social media than from radio, a new Ofcom report has found. [Ofcom]
  • Reddit has hired a former Instagram global business marketing exec as its first head of business marketing. [TubeFilter]
🤦‍♂️ Fail of the week
Juventus apologise after being condemned for offensive tweet
❓ Question of the week
One well-chosen word can be the difference between a viral hit and a total flop, so this week I’ve asked for your copywriting tips. Get involved! 👇
Matt Navarra
social media managers

what's your top tip for writing great tweets or captions?
💬 You can quote me on that
When I get quoted in the news, you’ll find it here…
Instagram explains move to block Olympic champion over copyright breach
📊 Stat of the week
The scale of TikTok’s success laid bare 👇
Matt Navarra
TikTok’s U.S. Downloads Were Nearly Double Other Top Apps in H1 2021
🔨 Tool of the week
Top 50 Social Media Analytics Tools
🌟 New feature of the week
Twitter Spaces introduces co-host feature and more
🐣 Tweet of the week
If Twitter had announced it was killing fleets every week for the past few months it would have had a hit on its hands! 👇
🔍 Insights
Social media data, insights and reports to give you an edge at work:
  • Want to up your brand Instagram game? The company now offers examples of some of the best brand creative work, to give you some inspiration. [Social Media Today]
  • Are you a small business wanting to make the most of TikTok ads? The company has published new tips. [Social Media Today]
  • Building a YouTube channel? The company now offers you more pointers. [Social Media Today]
  • Need to keep up with the constantly shifting advertising landscape? Facebook has launched a new interview series to help keep you in the know. [Social Media Today]
  • 70 gaming tweets are sent each second. That’s just one of the insights Twitter has shared about how users talk about games on the platform. [Adweek $$$]
📲 Quick hits
Updates, experiments, and useful info snippets:
  • Facebook has redesigned its settings menus, but not everyone is happy about it. [TechCrunch]
  • Facebook is building a music status option, letting you share music you’re listening to. [@alex193a]
  • Facebook Reality Labs has shown off a prototype allowing for eye contact through a VR headset. [Road to VR]
  • Facebook’s patent application for an AR wristband design has been published. [Patently Apple]
  • Facebook’s ‘Stars’ currency for supporting creators has been spotted in the wild. [@matankaufman]
  • Facebook Business Suite now lets you edit Facebook Pages. [@newinsocial]
  • Instagram has been spotted offering to recommend creators’ Reels on Facebook. [@WFBrother]
  • Instagram could soon mark the Reels you’ve watched. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is still developing an audio remix option in Reels. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is redesigning its Poll sticker. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is still developing its text-to-speech feature for Reels. The ability to choose different voices has been spotted being worked on. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram has been spotted offering a ‘hidden words’ option. [@TechnicalMJTV]
  • Messenger has been spotted offering ‘word effects’ in group chats. [@MattNavarra]
  • Oculus is rolling out multitasking support to some Quest 2 users. [UploadVR]
Multitasking on Oculus Quest 2
Multitasking on Oculus Quest 2
  • Twitter has officially launched support for Google and Apple account logins. [@TwitterSupport]
  • Twitter is still developing ‘Twitter for Professionals", adding the ability to toggle a category label in your profile. [@alex193a]
  • Twitter is working on a 'heads up’ warning about ‘intense’ conversations. [@wongmjane]
  • Twitter is testing a way to appeal if you think it mistakenly labelled a tweet as including sensitive media. [@TwitterSupport]
  • Twitter is testing a ‘create a Space’ button for the, er, space previously occupied by fleets. [@eskoosme]
  • TikTok appears to be testing a ‘wallpaper’ feature. [@jonah_manzano]
  • YouTube is testing a ‘Premium Lite’ subscription in Europe, letting users pay less to remove ads but not get other premium features. [The Verge]
  • YouTube is trialling new insights into the performance of evergreen videos. [Social Media Today]
  • Twitch is experimenting with a new, less disruptive, ad format. [The Verge]
  • Twitch has reduced its UK subscription price by a pound to £3.99. [Eurogamer]
  • Reddit has introduced new spam controls. [Adweek $$$]
  • LinkedIn says its A.I. connection suggestions are now less biased. [VentureBeat]
  • Q&A site Quora now lets creators monetise their expertise. [TechCrunch]
  • Telegram video calls now support up to 1,000 viewers, with 30 active participants. [Engadget]
📖 Weekend reading
Messaging Apps Have an Eavesdropping Problem
💀 Meme of the week
📅 Back next week...
You made it to the end. 
You can now stroll into work feeling fully briefed on everything new in social this week.
Right… Time to go get my weekend started. 
Wish me luck with online dating. It’s not going well
Goodbye geeks!
— Matt
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This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
Copyright 2021: Matt Navarra Media Ltd
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