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why you shouldn’t buy Facebook’s 🕶

Geekout Newsletter for Social Media Managers
Issue #62 • View online
*Read this newsletter on the web for the best experience*
Hello, Geeks!
Before we dive into all that’s shiny and new in the world of social…
How TF did I not know you can do this on Twitter?
🔥 GEEKOUT HOT 5
  1. Facebook unveiled its Ray-Ban smart glasses 
  2. Twitter takes on Facebook Groups with NEW Communities feature 
  3. LinkedIn added a competitor benchmarking feature for Company Pages 
  4. TikTok is now beating YouTube on one key metric 
  5. Twitter also launched full width images/videos, a soft block feature, emoji reactions for tweets, and labels for bot accounts
I really DON’T want to buy a pair of Facebook’s Ray-Ban smart glasses. I know I will be disappointed and regret the purchase within a month.
The camera and speakers are the key features which make them “Ray-Bans with superpowers”, but the early reviews set low expectations in regards to photo and audio quality.
The predictable screams from tech journalists about Facebook’s woeful track record with privacy is not what would stop me sinking £300 on a pair. My fear is I will buy them, not use any of the ‘smart’ features, and then in three months’ time wish I had just bought an almost identical regular pair of Ray-Bans, minus the smart features I stopped using within the first month.
But then everyone slated Facebook’s Portal device. I bought one anyway, and it’s now one of my most used gadgets ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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DON’T MISS THIS…
My Geekout community on Facebook is now 25,000 members strong, and still growing! Want to learn how to build your own buzzing online community? I will be revealing my top tips at this FREE event…
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WORTH A LOOK…
👀 MUST READ: How TikTok serves up sex and drug videos to kids
😮 WTF: Being a social media manager in Australia just got a LOT more stressful 
🤐 BEHIND THE SCENES: The secret life of a social media manager for the CIA
👴 DID YOU KNOW: There’s a TikTok guide for senior citizens 
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Okay, let’s take a deeper look at everything that has been going on this week…
— Matt
P.S. My weekly Geekout debriefing on Twitter Spaces will be back soon. More details coming soon.

🎧 Don't miss...
NEW EPISODE: LinkedIn's unusual approach to news on social media, with Katie Carroll
🚨 Everyone's talking about...
Twitter might not have got to use the handle they wanted, but the Communities feature has gone live, looking to bring a little of the shared-interest vibe of Facebook Groups and Reddit to your Twitter feed.
Although Communities aren’t quite live yet, the initial response from Twitter users has been warm. Casey Newton argued that they could help bring context back to the platform, letting you tweet freely about a topic to a likeminded audience, without worrying about random trolls taking your words out of context and starting distracting, pointless arguments.
I’m looking forward to giving Communities a try. In fact, a Geekout Community will be launching on Twitter very, very soon!
But because Communities have been bolted onto the ‘one big public conversation’ approach Twitter has used from the start, there’s potential for the feature to be a bit more confusing than using a Facebook Group or a subreddit.
It works like this: You join a community related to a topic you’re interested in. Tweets from that community then show up in your feed as well as in a separate Communities section of the app. And when you want to tweet only to that community, you select it in the tweet composer. Your tweet is then shown to other community members, rather than to all your followers.
Simple? Well, kind of. The tweets don’t show up for everyone by default, but Communities are public so non-members can still take a look at your community tweets if they go looking for them, they just won’t be able to interact with them.
With Super Follower and Communities tweets now rolling out, and the possibility of you being able to tweet different ‘facets’ of your personality and interests—or just to your most trusted friends—in the future, Twitter is becoming a far more complicated product where it might become difficult to remember what you tweeted to whom, and who can read or reply to which tweets.
Twitter desperately needed ways to fix the noisy mess it had become for many users, but let’s just hope those ways don’t spoil the simplicity that makes the service so compelling to so many people.
After a video tease earlier in the week, Facebook yesterday announced Ray-Ban Stories, its hi-tech sunglasses developed in collaboration with the much-loved brand. Yes, now sunglasses have Stories too.
While they’re described by Ray-Ban as ‘smart glasses’, the $299/£299 Stories are closer to Snap’s Spectacles than they are Google Glass, as The Verge explains:
With their core ability of taking photos and videos, Ray-Ban Stories are essentially a sleeker version of Snapchat’s Spectacles, which first debuted in 2016 to a lot of hype that quickly fizzled. These Ray-Bans don’t have displays in the lenses, like the latest Spectacles that were unveiled earlier this year. However, speakers on both sides of the frame can play sound from your phone over Bluetooth, allowing you to take a call or listen to a podcast without pulling your phone out. A touchpad built into the side of the frame lets you change the volume or play and pause what you’re hearing.
Initial reviews have been mixed. The Verge’s Alex Heath was impressed, but over at Mashable, Alex Perry’s review was headlined: ‘Facebook’s Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses are just an overpriced influencer toy.’
For all the cynicism Facebook faces when it launches anything at all, the company has a good track record with hardware. Portal and Oculus Quest 2 are both great products, and the new glasses appear to have been thoughtfully developed.
Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth, the Facebook exec responsible for Ray-Ban Stories, tweeted: “We focused on the design and only after that added the technology we believed would be most useful to people…. We baked privacy into these glasses from the start, with input from third-party experts and we will continue to engage in open conversation with experts and the public as we continue on our journey to delivering AR glasses.”
And privacy is probably where these glasses will succeed or fail. Facebook has a section of its Ray-Ban Stories webpage dedicated to privacy. The privacy of others is the big concern, and the glasses feature a red LED that alerts people when you’re recording. But that depends on people actually looking at your glasses to see the light, and on them knowing what it means.
No wearable camera product has broken through to the mainstream yet. Will Ray-Ban Stories buck the trend? Either way, if you get a pair, just don’t wear them at the airport, as Geekout editor Martin found out a few years ago.
Tired of hitting a brick wall in trying to persuade companies like Facebook to give them a back door into end-to-end encrypted apps like WhatsApp, the UK government is changing tack. As the Register reports:
Prominent in details briefed to the news media this week (including The Register) were accusations that Facebook harbours paedophiles, terrorists, and mobsters and that British police forces would effectively be blinded to the scale of criminality on the social networking platform, save for cases where crimes are reported…
The government’s long-signalled push to deter Facebook from implementing E2EE comes, inevitably, at a significant cost to taxpayers: London ad agency M&C Saatchi has been hired at an undisclosed cost by the Home Office to tell the public that Facebook (and WhatsApp) harbours criminals. The ad campaign will run online, in newspapers and on radio stations with the aim of turning public opinion against E2EE – and, presumably, driving home the message that encryption itself is something inherently bad.
Nothing has changed about the encryption debate. Breaking end-to-end encryption would still be like the government putting a camera in every room in every house in the country, in case they wanted to take a look at what you were doing at some point. Yes, they might catch some criminals, but they’d abuse your trust and privacy in the process. You probably wouldn’t give the police a key to your house ‘just in case’, would you?
So, the government is now appealing to the court of public opinion to force tech companies’ hands. If we all ‘agree’ that end-to-end encryption is ‘bad’ then Facebook will have to fold, right?
Sadly, there’s a chance might eventually work. That said, a new UK government-funded challenge to find ways to keep children safe in end-to-end encrypted environments shows they want to find a plan-B in case their ‘full-1984’ approach doesn’t work.
❓ Question of the week
So, are you raiding the piggy bank for a pair of Ray-Ban Stories? Tap through below and let me know! 👇
🔨 Tool of the week
AudioStrip
👀 ICYMI...
Stories you need to know about:
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp:
Facebook admits "trust deficit" as it looks to launch digital wallet
  • A much-shared report by ProPublica about supposed holes in WhatsApp’s security was based on a misunderstanding. [9to5Mac]
  • Facebook has apologised for its A.I. mislabelling Black men as ‘primates’. [The Verge]
  • Facebook is developing custom chips to power its algorithm for content recommendations, among other things. [Engadget]
  • Facebook has been accused of allowing employers to post sexist job ads. [BBC News]
  • Oculus has lost a little VR headset usage market share on Steam, but it’s still growing. [Road to VR]
  • Facebook is fighting back against the UK competition regulator’s opposition to the Giphy acquisition. [AdAge $$$]
  • Facebook advertisers are struggling to track sales since Apple’s privacy changes came in. [AdAge $$$]
  • An Instagram post by Kim Kardashian promoting a cryptocurrency product has not gone down well with a UK regulator. [Wall Street Journal $$$]
  • Facebook is the official social media services supplier to the Rugby World Cup France 2023. [Rugby World Cup]
Twitter:
Twitter introduces a new label that allows the ‘good bots’ to identify themselves
TikTok:
TikTok reportedly overtakes YouTube in US average watch time
And the rest…
Epic Games to shut down Houseparty in October, including the video chat ‘Fortnite Mode’ feature
  • Spending in social apps is set to hit $17.5bn in 2025. [TechCrunch]
  • mayk.it is a new social music app built by former TikTok and Snap employees. [TechCrunch]
  • LAPD officers have been told to collect social media data from every person they stop. [The Guardian]
  • Texas has passed a law banning social platforms from silencing users for their viewpoint. [The Verge]
  • The UK government is increasingly using targeted social ads to ‘nudge’ public behaviour, a report suggests. [The Guardian]
  • English football bosses have accused social media companies of using abuse as a “golden goose”. [The Guardian]
  • Brazil has banned social platforms from removing some posts. [New York Times $$$]
🤔 Thought for the week
rat king
what this boils down to for me:

most hardware products FB has produced (thus far) come well-crafted and are usually surprising in how much you might like using it — c.f. Portal, Quest 2, etc

the perennial caveat is basically always "...but it's facebook"
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Get in touch: matt@mattnavarra.com
🌟 New feature of the week
Finally! WhatsApp has needed this for years. Stop that annoying person you fell out with from keeping tabs on when you’re active in the app…
Matt Navarra
WhatsApp Will Soon Let You Hide Your 'Last Seen' Status From Specific Contacts https://t.co/s58nnEKqR4 https://t.co/8vbtRHhalm
🐣 Tweets of the week
Reddit reacts to Twitter launching Communities….
…and Twitter hits back in style.
🔍 Insights
Social media data, insights and reports to give you an edge at work:
  • Where is social media headed in the future? A new report shares insights. [Social Media Today]
  • Want a high-performing TikTok ad? The company has collected together some tips. [Search Engine Journal]
  • Want to understand ‘creative prototyping’ for Facebook Ads? The company has published a guide. [Social Media Today]
📲 Quick hits
Updates, experiments, and useful info snippets:
  • Facebook now gives advertisers an option to direct traffic generated by their conversion ads to their Facebook and Instagram Shops instead. [@MattNavarra]
  • Facebook has unveiled more authors launching newsletters on its Bulletin platform. [@FBforCreators]
  • Instagram is testing a new icon for Branded Content tools in Stories. [@ahmedghanem]
  • Instagram is still developing a ‘reply with video’ option in Reels. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is working on letting you send questions to a Live host from the web. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is developing the ability to add music to feed posts. [@alex193a]
  • Instagram is working on a ‘Favorites’ feature that shows posts from accounts you select higher up the feed. [@alex193a]
  • Messenger now has a new Stories tab. [@MattNavarra]
  • WhatsApp now lets users transfer messages from an iPhone to an Android device, but it requires a cable. [9to5Mac]
  • And WhatsApp is also developing Android to iPhone transfers. [@WABetaInfo]
  • WhatsApp is working on redesigned chat bubbles on iOS. [WABetaInfo]
  • WhatsApp is preparing to test message reactions, and a screenshot of the feature has emerged. [WABetaInfo]
  • Twitter has a new Purchases tab. It’s linked to Super Follows but could soon be used for shopping features too. [Social Media Today]
  • Twitter is building the Spaces tab for the web. [@wongmjane
  • Twitter could soon let you flag media you attach to your tweets for nudity, violence, or sensitive content. [@wongmjane]
  • Twitter’s intro screen for a new ‘pinned chats’ feature has emerged. [@alex193a]
  • Twitter Spaces now shares more information about a Space if you click on it after it has finished. [@TwitterSpaces]
  • The Revue subscribe button on Twitter profiles is now live on all versions of the Twitter app. [@revue]
The newsletter subscribe button rolls out for all on Twitter.
The newsletter subscribe button rolls out for all on Twitter.
  • Apple is once again using a Twitter hashflag to promote its next big event. [Apple Insider]
  • TikTok is developing the ability to add comments to your Favorites section, so you can reply to them with a video later. [@alex193a]
  • TikTok is marking Fashion Month with a series of events and livestreams. [Social Media Today]
  • TikTok is working on the ‘Reply’ option in chat. [@alex193a]
  • Snapchat now lets you track your friends’ birthdays from one place. [Engadget]
  • LinkedIn has launched a new learning hub, free courses, and search fields for hybrid working. [TechCrunch]
  • YouTube has halved the number of subscribers you need to unlock Community posting, down to just 500. [The Verge]
  • YouTube has added five new features for creators, including evergreen video insights and trending hashtags. [Search Engine Journal]
  • Dispo could let users sell their photos as NFTs. [TechCrunch]
  • Telegram’s beta now includes group read-receipts. [Android Police]
📖 Weekend reading
Anti-Vaxxers Are Learning How To Game TikTok’s Algorithm – And They’re Going Viral
💀 Meme of the week
📅 Back next week...
Good news! 
You’ve reached the end of this week’s edition of Geekout.
If you’ve had a shit week, you can at least mark this up as an achievement. 🙌
Right, time for me to go disconnect from socials (for a little while, at least).
Goodbye, geeks!
— Matt
__________________
This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant.
Copyright 2021: Matt Navarra Media Ltd
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