We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #649


X is testing ‘Grok’ AI Chatbot

X is officially testing its first chatbot, “Grok”, with a view to a wider launch in the near future among X Premium+ subscribers. X owner Elon Musk plans for Grok to be “anti-woke”, with less censorship of potentially sensitive topics. Musk believes that Grok will be a more accurate source of truth, particularly on real-time news topics, because it will source its data from X, with X’s updated user agreement allowing it to use people’s posts to fuel the system.

TikTok explores selling groceries in the US

TikTok Shop US is exploring ways to help more brands sell their products and services directly through the app, including possible “partnerships with retailers to do deliveries to support perishable products”. Mike Westgate, head of home, living and retail for TikTok Shop US, spoke at Horizon Media commerce hub’s eCommFronts about what’s next for TikTok Shop, which rolled out to all US users in September.

YouTube is cracking down on ad blockers 

YouTube is cracking down on ad-blocker usage globally by showing warnings about breaking the platform’s terms of service. In some cases, the company is preventing users from viewing more videos unless they disable ad blocks. The platform started experimenting in June, when it showed a message to users saying that the video player would be blocked after three videos if the ad blocker wasn’t disabled. YouTube has now started a “global effort” to crack down on ad blockers, and has raised the price of YouTube Premium in multiple countries worldwide.

Instagram is developing a customisable ‘AI friend’

Instagram has been spotted developing an “AI friend” feature that users would be able to customise and converse with. Users would be able to chat with the AI to “answer questions, talk through any challenges, brainstorm ideas and much more.” Screenshots indicate that users would be able to select the gender, age, ethnicity and personality of the AI chatbot. You will be able to select a name and avatar for the AI friend, and even choose its interests, which will “inform its personality and the nature of its conversations.” Instagram declined to comment.

The latest influencer marketing news

A recent Reuters study has further confirmed that young viewers are favouring social creators over traditional news sources, in a search for accessible and relatable content. The shift poses opportunities for creators and diverse voices to challenge mainstream narratives, but also risks misinformation and reduced ethical standards.

A Gen Z creator in Singapore has taken to TikTok to start a series ‘to save’ her mum’s light business. Her first video got 8.4 million views, and her second stands at 1.2 million, demonstrating that content can be instantly successful on TikTok. 

Cirque du Soleil has created its own influencer network, where you can book one of their 1,500 artists to produce social-first content for your brand.

Influencer/comedy group, The Inspired Unemployed, have launched their new fragrance in partnership with Chemist Warehouse with a new funny TVC that “humorously parodies traditional high-end luxury fragrance advertisements, and the satirical nature of it aims to challenge norms and offer audiences a refreshed perspective on fragrance marketing.”

In other news

Instagram is working on Video ‘Notes’ feature. Elon Musk wants X to be a dating app. X is working on disappearing messages. Instagram Adds song lyrics display in Reels Clips. Instagram is working on a ‘Meme it’ feature. X appears to have begun ramping up efforts to sell disused user handles for up to $50,000.