Thursday, 22 July 2021

Investigation: How TikTok's Algorithm Figures Out Your Deepest Desires

quote [ A Wall Street Journal investigation found that TikTok only needs one important piece of information to figure out what you want: the amount of time you linger over a piece of content. Every second you hesitate or rewatch, the app is tracking you. ]

Ironically this is a video itself (no transcript, sorry), but it highlights the interesting ways, in which slim user interaction data can be used to drive niche engagement content at irritiating levels.

Here's another text focusing on teen users collecting some interesting quotes like the term “strategic ignorance”.
[SFW] [science & technology] [+3 WTF]
[by Paracetamol@9:30amGMT]

Comments

Naruki said @ 3:52am GMT on 23rd Jul [Score:1 Funny]
A month ago I was getting sea shanties, stupid puns, and girls trying to entice me to visit their Only Fans site. It was great.

Then I took a hiatus, and this morning I went back to TikTok. All I saw were anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, ultra-right Xtians, and other filth. WTF, TikTok?

What were you reading to get that stupid impression of my likes?
Hugh E. said @ 3:51am GMT on 24th Jul
That's what you get for taking one those hiatus from TikTok. Be a shame you should ever do that again. Things could get uglier. A lot uglier.
damnit said[1] @ 4:11am GMT on 26th Jul [Score:1 Informative]
Part of the algorithm is that every new video created are sent to a small sample size of 1,000 random people, regardless of tags. That's why you will occasionally get videos from random people and very little views.

If the video gains some traction, it is shown to 5K-10K more people and it builds from there (internal categorizations, regional, languages, etc.).

Unlike YouTube, where titles, video length, thumbnails, metadata, subscriber count, and frequency of uploads matter the most, every video on TikTok has a chance of going viral and you don't even need to add hashtags or captions.
steele said @ 4:40pm GMT on 22nd Jul
Facebook and insta do the same thing. Behold, heatmaps!
Paracetamol said[1] @ 5:15pm GMT on 22nd Jul
I can't help but admire the elegance of this approach. Blobbing some timestamps and ignoring the rest. Granted, it's probably more data flowing in the background.

[Edit:] Also, heatmaps are harder to measure on mobile.
lilmookieesquire said @ 12:47am GMT on 24th Jul
I was gonna be like "This just keeps track of the mouse pointer", but I guess you kind of look where your mouse pointer is?
Paracetamol said @ 5:36am GMT on 24th Jul
Yes, it's used as a cheap eye tracking replacement in QA, I guess.

Also, heatmaps can be used to highlight element interaction on the page (amount of buttons clicked or something) for quick data viz.
robotroadkill said @ 1:13am GMT on 24th Jul
I assumed it was this actually, and from Facebook too.
robotroadkill said @ 1:15am GMT on 24th Jul [Score:1 Underrated]
It's how I get an endless feed of wood turning, forging, cosplay crafting, model making, etc without "liking" a single video.

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