TikTok’s recommendation algorithms make it surprisingly easy to become famous


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Since the launch of TikTok in China in 2016, it has become one of the fastest growing social media platforms around the world. It was downloaded over 2.6 billion times globally and has 100 million users in the USA. And the unique way it finds and delivers content is a big part of its appeal.

The “For You” page is what most of the creators of TikTok think the app is different from other social media platforms because anyone can become famous there. Good content is rewarded faster, supercharged by algorithms that show users an endless stream of videos to suit their tastes. While other social media platforms promote viral content with mass appeal, TikTok’s algorithms have been shown to be particularly adept at connecting creators to niche communities that share interests, hobbies or interests. special identity.

A video’s chances of ending up on your “For You” page are determined by, among other things, the captions, sounds, and hashtags it contains. And like any other social media platform, what TikTok chooses to show you depends on how you use the app: what videos you liked, what content you create. The difference is that TikTok is better at it.

For Karpelman, TikTok allowed him to connect with strangers during a difficult and lonely time, but the fame it gave him brought his own concerns.

Already popular creators find it easier to grab attention, but TikTok doesn’t directly factor a creator’s tracks or viral history into determining what content to sow where. That’s why the “For You” pages mix viral hits with new videos from unknown creators, some of which only have a few views.

Over time, TikTok’s algorithms improve to guess what interests users, not only connecting them to videos in their own areas of interest, but bringing them into new, overlapping spaces. (A viral video featured the communities of TikTok as a treasure map: to access the healthy world of Frog TikTok you had to leave Straight TikTok, find your way to Stoner Witch, or Cottagecore, go through Trans and Non-Binary, and “go through the portal to reach the promised land.”)

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