The L@B Report – March 2024

March 11, 2024

Welcome to The L@B Report

Welcome to this month’s issue of The L@B Report from GSG, bringing you news and insights from the intersection of digital media and public affairs. In this issue, we explore Meta’s decision to deemphasize political content on Instagram and Threads, Twitter/X’s new geo-targeted Trend Takeovers, and the Biden campaign joining TikTok.

Meta Announces It Will No Longer Proactively Recommend Political Content on Threads or Instagram

Users will still see political content from accounts they follow

Meta announced in early February that it made big changes to its algorithms on Instagram and Threads to no longer proactively recommend political content on those properties. Users will still be able to follow accounts that post about political and social issues and if they do so, they will still see political content in their feeds.

According to the Washington Post, “the new approach means that users are less likely to see political-oriented content or accounts on Instagram’s ‘Explore’ page, its short-form video product known as Reels, and the suggested-users-to-follow box.”


This announcement isn’t all that surprising as Meta has been tweaking its algorithm over the last several years to deemphasize news content, upending many social-news-focused outlets, such as BuzzFeed, which relied heavily on Meta’s platforms for traffic. In fact, just last week Meta announced that it will end its “Facebook News” tab in the U.S. and Australia and it will stop paying publishers for news.

While Meta’s announcement doesn’t include immediate changes to political content on Facebook, they do mention rolling out additional controls there as well.

Meta’s combined apps still make it the largest social-networking platform in the U.S. and in the world. It is a crucial platform for political campaigns, issue advocacy groups, and public affairs professionals in reaching key audiences. This news will likely give advantage to politicians, causes, and political influencers who already have large followings. Newer entrants will likely face challenges growing their audiences – especially those without the funds for paid promotion or the ability to “go viral.”

Twitter/X Announces Geo-Targeted Trend Takeovers

X looks to compete for ad dollars with POLITICO, Axios, and Punchbowl News in the Beltway

In an email to advertisers, X announced that sponsored Trend Takeovers, which put a campaign’s video or static image at the top of the trending tab for 24 hours, can now be geo-targeted to select states. In a follow up email, X announced that the statewide trend takeovers include the ability to geo-target Washington, D.C.


In discussions with our X advertising representative, The L@B learned that geo-targeted Trend Takeovers in Washington, D.C. start around $165,000 for 24 hours, with some discounts for early advertisers.

This offering is interesting in that, despite ongoing controversies around Elon Musk and X, the platform is still a go-to for political news junkies, elected officials, and key influencers. The pricing, while expensive, is relatively in-line with political outlets that target similar audiences inside the Beltway. For example, sponsoring POLITICO’s Playbook morning newsletter can cost $500,000 for a week-long sponsorship.

While Meta is pulling back from news and politics, X is leaning in – especially when it comes to advertising. It wasn’t all that long ago, before Elon Musk’s takeover, that political and issue advertising was completely banned on the platform.

It also will be interesting to see whether political campaigns and causes take the plunge and give it a try. If advertisers get good results from the Trend Takeovers, it’s possible this could be a valuable revenue stream for X.

President Biden’s campaign officially joined TikTok on Super Bowl Sunday

The account, @BidenHQ, has amassed 213.3K followers since launch

President Biden’s 2024 campaign joined TikTok on Super Bowl Sunday to connect with younger voters ahead of the November election. The move comes despite President Biden banning TikTok on government devices over national security concerns.

The account, @BidenHQ, is run by Biden’s campaign staff alongside other accounts on X, Threads, Facebook, and Truth Social (Trump’s social networking website). Since launch, @BidenHQ has amassed more than 213,000 followers.


As Time reported, TikTok proved to be a “strong force” for mobilizing young voters in the 2020 Presidential election. Multiple polls have found TikTok to be the top source of news for Gen Z, and an increasingly popular source for Americans overall. And a 2023 Pew survey found that one-third of adults under 30 regularly scroll TikTok for news, up 255% since 2020.

With data like that, it makes sense that Biden’s re-election campaign would launch a presence on TikTok – especially as Meta deemphasizes news and political content.

However, the concerns around TikTok are real – especially when it comes to how the platform’s algorithm moderates content. For example, a recent Rutgers University study found that TikTok “likely promotes and demotes certain topics based on the perceived preferences of the Chinese government,” especially around the war in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas War.

Shortly after the Rutgers study was published, TikTok restricted access to the tool researchers used to conduct it.

Public affairs professionals should monitor President Biden’s campaign TikTok account for possible insights into best practices and approaches to the platform, but with the understanding that smaller campaigns, organizations, and causes may have a harder time finding success – especially if they don’t have a strong TikTok-specific content strategy.

Earlier this month, Senior Vice President and head of GSG’s paid media, Emily Williams was honored as one of the Top Women in Communications by Ragan and PR Daily.

She is a consistent force in shaping our cutting-edge creative and digital practice – both the trophy and the recognition are well deserved. Congratulations, Emily!

This issue of The L@B Report was put together by Ryan Alexander.

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