TikTok’s algorithm has this mysterious way to grasp your interests and what you want to watch. The Wall Street Journal dove deep into how it works.

If you’ve used TikTok, you’ve seen how easy it is to start your experience as soon as you install the app, and how easy it is to simply watch content without giving much information to the platform.

You even don’t have to follow anyone or like videos (this is how I personally use the platform), you just scroll and it will still show you content that seems to match what you’re looking for (to a point of course).

TikTok figures out your unexpressed interests through some mysterious magic.

The Wall Street Journal published a feature that shows how the algorithm works through a very interesting experiment.

They created dozens of bots that automatically watched and interacted with content on TikTok, based on interests programmed into how the bots would behave when coming across videos suggested by the platform in their feed.

What is fascinating is that very quickly the algorithm was usually able to properly “guess” what the unexpressed interests of the bots were (within minutes for some!) and slowly start showing “relevant” content to the fake user.

The 13-minute video (below) is extremely interesting to watch, to discover how TikTok’s algorithm works, but also raise the issue of how algorithms shape what we see, how we see it, and why we can absolutely imagine that for some people it can also alter how they think.

A must-watch for anyone that has a brand presence on any platform governed by algorithms.


(source: The Wall Street Journal)