On TikTok, viral videos aren’t internet magic like that

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According to the American magazine Forbes, TikTok employees can highlight videos themselves with a button.

TIKTOK – The TikTok platform is known for its algorithm that always (or almost) succeeds in showing you user-friendly videos in its popular “For You” series. But this accuracy is due not only to A algorithm.

This Thursday, January 20th, American Magazine Forbes Detect that staff Tik Tok They can highlight videos with the ‘Heat Up’ (or ‘Boost’) button. to me The mediaAn internal document states that this boosted content amounts to 1 or 2% of total daily viewership.

Unclassified practice

TikTok has never really hidden about this “boost” system. There is even a document governing its use. It says employees can use it.” Attract influencers “and for” Promote a variety of content “.

Speaker Jimmy Favazza demonstrates this Very few US-based employees have the ability to consent to content promotion. This is 0.002% of the videos in the For You feed. “.

Moreover, it is not the only social network that uses this practice. Google and Facebook also highlight certain posts but tell the user the nature of those posts. This happened, for example, when social networks (including TikTok) partnered with public health organizations to spread critical information related to Covid-19.

However, employees and former employees of the platform admitted this Forbes That this practice has also been used to make a profit. In particular by highlighting the content of influencers and brands at the expense of others. The goal is to attract these accounts to get partnerships.

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In addition, some employees kidnapped “reinforcement”. Three sources revealed to Forbes That few people have highlighted their own content or even that of their loved ones. Remarkably drifting allowed a personal account to gain 3 million views.

A revelation that goes down badly

Overall, this revelation is not at the right time for TikTok. The US and Europe are increasingly wary of the app, and with good reason: About a month ago, ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) admitted to spying on journalists while the platform claimed it needed user data to deliver more relevant content.

The fact that the platform is Chinese raises certain questions regarding moderation and censorship. RFI It reports that many information related to the Uyghur people, who are persecuted by the Chinese government, soon disappeared from TikTok.

Now under the radar, TikTok is trying to promote an image of transparency. The platform recently announced that it is working on a New feature. It will allow users to understand why this or that video was recommended to them (“Why this video”). asked about heating The company has only made it clear that it has continued to develop the recommendation function.

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