How TikTok Reads Your Mind

from NYTs

There are four main goals for TikTok’s algorithm: ????, ???? (??), ????, and ????, which the company translates as “user value,” “long-term user value,” “creator value,” and “platform value.”

That set of goals is drawn from a frank and revealing document for company employees that offers new details of how the most successful video app in the world has built such an entertaining — some would say addictive — product.

The document, headed “TikTok Algo 101,” was produced by TikTok’s engineering team in Beijing. A company spokeswoman, Hilary McQuaide, confirmed its authenticity, and said it was written to explain to nontechnical employees how the algorithm works. The document offers a new level of detail about the dominant video app, providing a revealing glimpse both of the app’s mathematical core and insight into the company’s understanding of human nature — our tendencies toward boredom, our sensitivity to cultural cues — that help explain why it’s so hard to put down. The document also lifts the curtain on the company’s seamless connection to its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, at a time when the U.S. Department of Commerce is preparing a report on whether TikTok poses a security risk to the United States.

More here.

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  1. “Tik Tok” has occupied the dominant position on the Apple App Store free rankings for many days. With its diverse music styles, cool visual editing functions, personalized distribution mechanism, and a good community atmosphere, Douyin has been widely sought after by young user groups shortly after its launch. It can be said that today, a 15-second exposure can make you famous overnight, and a 15-second video can record the moving or exciting moments of life.

    The success of Douyin stems from the solution to the problem of “no content to watch”. These are all due to the algorithm recommendation + manual selection recommendation mechanism adopted by Douyin. According to a professional who knows about Douyin: After the machine learns the interests of users, it will push similar videos at a certain frequency, but it will not push too much of a certain type of video to cause user aesthetic fatigue. Douyin will also manually select some high-quality content, push it to fans, and comment on related tags. Interested users. The more important thing is operation. After Douyin masters release creative videos, Douyin will also guide ordinary users to imitate them through operations. When a certain type of creative video is popular, the machine will also make changes to this type of video. Multiple recommendations to attract ordinary users to participate. At the same time, both the official Douyin and users can post topic challenges to guide users to create on the same topic. The machine will recommend topics of interest to users.

  2. Tik tok’s algorithm makes the app constantly show you the videos you like based on how you respond to the videos they show you. The article goes over how the app grabs your attention and does their best to keep it. Personally, I love tik tok. When using the app, it consistently shows me videos I like, and shows me videos on Hobbies I enjoy. For example, I remember when I first got the app, it showed me a video of some NBA players in a game. Once I liked that video, it started showing me more just like it. After some time, the app figured out I liked basketball, video games, and puppy videos. I found myself constantly wanting to scroll through the app, and unknowingly became addicted to it. I was using the app every chance I got and even tried deleting a couple of times to test if I really was addicted. What I noticed about apps like this is that they can make teens and kids addicted to social media and their smartphones. This website talks about how teens addicted to their phones use it about 9 hrs a day. I looked at my screen time and noticed that I use my phone for the same amount of time. The reasons TikTok wants to keep you hooked and grab your attention is so that you watch ads. When you watch ads, tik tok gets paid.

    • Michael,

      If you realize yourself that you are addicted to TikTok, why do you still use it? Our time and attention is being marketed to advertisers; it’s chilling to think about the fact that soulless capitalism has progressed to the point of entrapping youth to satisfy greedy billionaires.

      You may argue that you have a two-way relationship with TikTok; you give them your time and attention and they provide you with entertainment and empty time. To each their own, but I want to try and persuade you that there are more productive things you could be doing with your time. Work out, study, read a book, strengthen relationships with friends. If that doesn’t persuade you to try and quit TikTok one more time, what convinced me was the disgust for Big Tech’s greediness. I think it’s unethical to be targeting impressionable teens and feeding into their addiction to quick entertainment. Don’t feed into them and give them any more power over you. Doesn’t it frustrate you to be manipulated like this? That’s what drove me to quit social media.

      But in the end it’s completely up to you what you choose to do. I don’t mean to reprimand your way of life if you choose to use TikTok, I would just like to make my point.

  3. TikTok’s algorithm is one that I believe gives us a glimpse into how the future of all websites will work. The main idea of the algorithm is to keep people on the app for as long as possible so that they can make as much money as possible off of each individual user. The idea of focusing on making as much money as possible is one that is shared by all major online platforms. While some might be against the idea of websites logging users’ data, even if it is just to personalize the experience, the hard truth here is that this type of data harvesting is here to stay. Every major website today uses its users’ data to some extent, whether it be Amazon using it to show you items you might like based on past purchases or it is Instagram using data from posts you interact with to show you similar posts, this is not going away. On its surface, these ideas are not that problematic. We are shown products we might want and content that we might want to see, it gives a personal experience to each user on the platform. The problem with all of this falls when the algorithm goes a little too far with what it shows people. As discussed in the article, TikTok’s problem is that the algorithm works in a way that it logs how long you interact with a post as a metric for gauging what posts you want to see and what posts you do not. This can lead to addictive behavior and if similarly implemented across all major social media platforms, can lead to a greater dependence on devices than we already have today. My concern with this is not so much TikTok harvesting data to show its users more personal content, as I have come to accept that this is here to stay, it more so falls on TikTok’s inability to limit such addictive content from being put into a users personal database. According to the article, the only direct way TikTok is attempting to combat this is by “aggressively deleting content that violates its terms of service.” This solution only works for posts that directly promote violence, self-harm, or other violations of the terms of service, this does not solve the overarching problem of making its users addicted by constantly showing them stimulating content. With most of TikTok’s user base being young people, this is very hard to combat and gives a bleak look into the future of social media’s effect on the minds of children.

  4. Tiktok has taken the world by storm and changed the social media game. Tiktok is one of the most downloaded apps around the world. The article from went over how Tiktok tries to grab your attention and maintain your attention to the app. Tiktok pays attention to what categories I like and pay attention too. For example, when I first downloaded tiktok a bunch of videos on my “for you page” came up. When I would see a video revolving sports or working out I would like that video or save it to my favorites. Tiktok paid close attention to that. So now when I would go on the app I would mainly see videos of sports and working out. It is actually a very smart tactic used by Tiktok. It keeps you on the app when you see videos you find entertaining. The one problem that I have had with Tiktok though, is that I found it very easy to become addicted to it. I would catch myself on it for as long as an hour and a half before I went to sleep. After a while I knew I had to discipline myself. I would set an alarm when I went on the app so that I would not lose track of time. The way that TikTok gets paid is through their advertisements. So the more that they can keep someone on the app and watching ad’s when they come up, the more they will get paid. One piece of advice I would have for a new user is to keep yourself from being on it for to long and not believing what you always see on it. People can be very manipulative on the app. They try to make others believe about themselves what is not true. If you decide to make content, just be yourself. People like to see what is different. Tiktok is mainly a safer platform. They band and delete any content containing violence, self harm or anything that violates their terms of service. So when you are signing up know that there are many great things about the app but also just make sure you are not becoming to addicted to it. Manage your time using it and have fun.

  5. Social media algorithms have revolutionized profit-making for these companies. With algorithms, social media apps such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, etc, can now directly target advertisements to consumers most likely to purchase the product or service. The algorithms use the user’s phone data and correlate them with an advertisement. Algorithms have become so advanced that social media apps can pick up the slightest detail and use it to market advertisements to a specific consumer group. Algorithms have become so good at picking up details that it has become frightening. There have been times when I would be having conversations with somebody about a product, and when I log into Instagram or TikTok, the first thing I see is an advertisement for the product. Makes you think about what else your phone can pick up even if you are not actively using the phone. The TikTok application is especially efficient with its algorithms.
    TikTok has become the most used social media application in the past couple of years. They have gotten their popularity due to the app’s addictive nature. TikTok has figured out a way to retain its users effectively. They can connect the user to videos by simply liking a related topic or longer watch time on a video. TikTok’s algorithm has gotten to the point where it knows the user better than the user knows themself. The article,” The TikTok Algorithm Knew My Sexuality Better Than I Did” is a narrative article, in which a 26-year-old social media manager goes into detail on how TikTok made her come out as bisexual. She denied the inclination her whole life until she started using TikTok, where she was recommended queer-related videos. The videos made her feel more comfortable with her sexuality. Algorithms can be positive when they help the user get connected to videos that will better their lives, but I believe the algorithm is an invasion of privacy. It is a scary thought to have that social media apps are constantly monitoring user activities on the phone and in person. Nobody knows who is exactly receiving the information. The algorithm could just be a façade and social media companies are soliciting user information to undesired people or organizations.

  6. TikTok is a well known app that is used as a source of entertainment for children and adults. The app allows one to create videos and post them so that others from any place in the world are allowed to see them. However, as someone who has the app I can say it is extremely addictive and follows an algorithm which allows any user to grow a liking to the app. TikTok keeps track of the users liked videos so that similar videos will be shown. Each users for you page is customized differently which is another reason why the app is addictive because it is made specifically for you. The reason why TikTok as well as every other social app does this is obviously because of money. The more people that download the app, watch the adds and create content the more they will get paid. As selfish as this sounds, wouldn’t anyone do this for money ?

  7. Throughout the article titled, “How TikTok Reads Your Mind,” a very important topic of discussion is presented that is easily relevant to the daily consumer’s lifestyle. In general, most Americans have heard of the new social media app, Tik Tok. However, what they may not understand is the apps algorithm and how it perceives its users. Tik Tok reactively tends to its users and their preferences. For example, if a user opens the app and digitally reacts to a post that is seen on their “for you page”, the algorithm will simply find videos that relate to the one of which the user reacted to and repeatedly show the user more videos just like it. By doing this, the app constantly customizes itself to the users likings. That is why someone can learn so much about someone else and their hobbies just by scrolling through their Tik Tok app.
    Personally, I believe the Tik Tok algorithm to be the most attractive part of the app itself. The way it is designed is simply ingenious. However, this isn’t the first or last time this self-learning algorithm will be used within an application such as Tik Tok. For example, the relative application, Instagram, uses an algorithm that is very similar to Tik Tok. While a user on both of the applications can simply follow content that they like, Instagram also presents its users with related accounts or posts that may instantly catch the users attention. This shows that the algorithm that Tik Tok uses, has evidently already been adapted by other companies for its exact same purpose, to hold the user’s attention, keeping them said application for as long as possible. This is the company’s goal, for most of their revenue is made by showing paid advertisements to its users, as well as selling this information collected by the algorithm to other companies. Yes, that is right, your preferences and other interests are literally being sold to other companies to ultimately grab your attention.
    Personally, I feel as if this act of marketing one’s information that is collected on an algorithm similar to Tik Tok’s is unjust and invasive. This is because I feel as if someone’s use of social media and what they choose to do should be private and personal. Even though there are specific ways that a user can privatize their account as well as its contents to other users, this simply does not stop the company from collecting and selling information gained by the users preferences. However, little to no concern has aroused because of this, as people all across the world will continue to use the application all throughout their day.

  8. TikTok is a drug which makes society toxic. Being a young adult that is part of the generation of “TikTokers”, I see friends and family using the app and most of the time is separating them from anything around such as an opportunity for conversation, learning or enjoying a nice view. The algorithm is the reason why everyone is so addicted to the drug. Humans have this tendency to like and get closer to what is related to them, meaning any familiarity in an unknown environment will cause comfort. Social media is a world where people can find literally everything they want, which can be positive for the ones who struggle to find themselves in the real world, as they find connections and friendships by knowing there is someone out there that relates to them. But at the same time, it creates dependency. TikTok is aware of that, so the algorithm is used to addict. By taking information of what a person sees, the app will only show what it is of like therefore the person will always be watching and listening to what they already like, already know and already agree with. This causes a huge impact negatively as the idea of seeing counterpoints and using critical thinking to relate and see what side of a story is better never happens. For example, a person who has a clear and decided choice in politics will go to the app and only see what they already agree, making them more and more alienated to the opposite opinion, causing people to be unable to have a healthy discussion. When I mention that society is toxic, I mean that I have seen so much hate between people who disagree with others to the point they distance themselves from friends and family because of a vote, a choice, or a post. Where is that human side of people in which they agree to disagree and try to understand the other side? There is no more empathy. If someone disagrees with something its siblings believe, it is fine to discuss, mention each other points of views and still disagree. But with this alienation caused by social media, we now see people hating each other for not having the same opinion.
    If people stop to analyze the names of each four categories in the algorithms, something is peculiar. For example, “user-value” and “long-term user value” caused a lot of questions in my mind. First, by applying a value to a person I see the user being turned into a product, which isn’t a surprise for me, but it is negative. And the value mentioned here is not at all to the user, it is the value it has to the company. In TikTok, users are seeing as an opportunity for the app to understand people better, direct them to where the app wants and showcase them to advertising based on their likes. The app will never show ads about women’s purses to a user who follows pages about men’s basketball, football, men’s boxing videos and male shoes. The ads to this person will be about the things they like. This is the user-value to TikTok, the way in which they can turn the person into a product. When it comes to long-term value, I think of even more powerful things such as how the person can be changed into what is better for TikTok. Hypothetically speaking, if Puma pays TikTok to sell products through the app, the algorithm could easily show users many videos about how competitors such as Nike and Adidas are having bad products and cause the user to, in the long-term, dislike the products and then switch to Puma.
    The “creator-value” I see as the way the app can use the video makers to influence the watchers. It has become a job in a very powerful industry to be a tiktoker, meaning people make a lot of money by being there and posting content, which in my opinion is mostly useless. The app and the algorithm probably analyze the users of a certain creator and then use him to control and influence the users, adding his value to the app. Lastly the “platform-value” is, in my view a way which everything is connected and together on TikTok. One example of that is the control the people who work in the app must cancel or delete videos they want, simply because in their opinion is not appropriate. While I agree that some topics and videos should be completely deleted because the content is dangerous or illegal, there have been cases of people who challenge the “common” idea of a sensible topic and are removed for a reason that makes no sense.
    Another reason which makes using this app dangerous is the fact that technology nowadays is always watching and listening. That means a cellphone can be in the side of a dinner table while a conversation is happening and be listening, making the information be absorbed and will be used in apps. I have had moments in which I was talking about something with friends and as soon as I open an app on my phone, advertising about the topic we were talking about comes up for me. Once I was having a conversation about what types of food I like and dislike and when I went to uber eats to order something, the app made a random suggestion of exactly the type of food I mentioned in the conversation. This could be a coincidence, but I have experienced multiple times and when something repeats it is hard to believe it was coincidental.
    To finalize, I would like to acknowledge and put out a counterpoint to my ideas. I recognize that tiktok has many useful pages and interesting information to be seen. There are many news pages, sports pages, and educational with cooking, religious and academic teachings. I know people who use TikTok in a very well-balanced way and are not addicted to it who have a healthy lifestyle, knows how to make good discussions and are understanding of the others’ opinions. Therefore, I see positive sides of the app, but as the article mentioned in the headline “TikTok reads your mind” and the use of this information, in my opinion, could be dangerous.

  9. Tik tok and all other social media platforms read your mind. When I scroll on tik tok and instagram I always get these ads and most of the time these ads that mostly apply to rather something I am thinking about or something that I did earlier in the day. This has to do with tik tok and social media algorithms. Tik toks algorithm focuses on stuff that we have searched and videos that we like, share, and watch repeatedly. Which is why for you pages are different for different types of people all over the world. Then this website will post ads based on what you watch or search. For example, if you watch a lot of basketball on tik tok they will post ads for fidgety things and little stuff you can use in your room. These videos on tik tok can change some people’s minds on some ideas. It is truly amazing how tik tok uses such small things to read our minds and find videos, and ads that fit us so well.

  10. I find it shocking how TikTok’s algorithmic manipulation makes it almost like a drug to people; I have had friends literally tell me not to get TikTok because even they realize how hard it is to put down. The tendency for the algorithm to provide material that isn’t satisfying mocks the behavior of a literal drug. It even sometimes promotes content that would drive some to self harm. It makes me glad to hear people tell me not to get it, as it strengthens my resolve that it is, in the end, harmful to user’s mental health. Some, however, do not realize that they are addicted, and I think this is a serious problem. It’s akin to using a drug and not being disclosed that it has harmful side effects.
    The article linked, The TikTok Algorithm Knew My Sexuality Better Than I Did, makes me think that rather than TikTok “reading their mind”, impressionable people could just be self projecting onto the content they see. I know how it feels to search for an identity and cling onto something that you think is you, but isn’t authentically you, if that makes sense. That’s just my theory though; the prospect warrants further research. Still, it worries me that this could be happening to children as young as 13 are using this app, and if my theory proves to have validity (which, if my knowledge on psychology is correct, it very well could), the dangers of TikTok should be spread to more people.

  11. Many social media platforms have tried to replicate Facebook’s success in recent years, but as we have seen very few can gain enough traction to be relevant. Instagram, Snapchat, and a few others have been extremely successful, but hundreds of other attempted social media platforms that did not gain the same traction as the ones mentioned. Tik Toc has taken social media by storm accumulating a total of 700 million users in a short period of time. They use an algorithm that tracks how long their users view a specific type of video, how much they interact with the post, and how consumers like posts to suggest similar videos. This platform heavily relies on its “for you page” instead of who users follow, meaning they capitalize on user engagement on its videos to decide what videos to show next. Their content ranges from sports highlights, to funny videos, and have some informative videos as well. Content creators also prefer this app because it seems easier to go viral because once your video starts picking up more views and interactions, the algorithm will start putting it on millions of peoples for you page. Tic Tok also capitalized on peoples short attention span, very few videos are longer than a minute, and on average way shorter. People can endlessly scroll and I even catch myself on it for way longer than I expect when laying in bed, or when I have free time between classes. It is a good way to entertain yourself, but always make sure you are careful with how much time you are spending on social media.

  12. In my opinion, Tiktok is one of the most addictive apps of this day and age. It has taken the world by storm so quickly. I, myself, can not manage to keep myself off of the app in my free time. Tiktok’s algorithm is mostly responsible for this. I believe that the way it works is that the longer you watch videos, and the more that you like, it will put more of those videos in your feed based on your interest. This is why most believe that Tiktok “controls your mind”. By putting videos in your feed that you like, they capture the interest of the viewers and make you want to keep watching. For example, I enjoy the TV show “Family Guy” a lot. I have watched this show ever since I was a kid, and it has always been one of my favorites. Whenever I go on Tiktok, Family Guy takes up about 50% of my watched videos. That is because every time a clip of Family Guy comes up, I usually watch it until the end and like it, and this makes Tiktok know to keep showing these videos in my feed because I will keep watching and keep liking. I think that TikTok is also a very informative app. I used to want to be a marine biologist when I grew up and have always loved videos that show the ocean, or give any kind of facts about the ocean. Some of these have came up on my Tiktok feed in the past, and like the Family Guy clips, I always watch them until the end and like them. With TikTok’s algorithm, they keep putting more into my feed because I will keep watching them. I said that TikTok is also very informative because I have learned lots of new facts about the ocean that I had never known before. Many people think TikToks are just stupid and pointless dances, but from my experiences, they also can be informative. It is all up to the algorithm of Tiktok, which is why it seems to control your mind.

  13. The famous social media app known as “TikTok” has seemingly dominated the social media industry, with over 1 billion users and viewers, it is one of the world’s most popular platforms. As someone who fell into the trap of “trends”, I have found myself using the app nearly every single day. But there is one question that I keep asking myself, what is making me come back every single time? TikTok assorts videos oriented towards pleasing people, so the more that people like, the more similar videos TikTok will put on your main feed. This is known as TikTok’s main algorithm, or a way to “control your mind”, by putting more videos similar to the ones that you last liked. I have noticed this myself (it isn’t hard to miss in general), for example, I like to watch a lot of videos on cars because it is a hobby of mine. So most of the videos that I see on my main feed are educational, or just videos about cars in general, because I have previously liked videos related to cars. I noticed this trend very quickly as I would scroll through my feed because I found it odd that almost all my feed was about cars after only liking a couple videos about cars. TikTok automatically filters these videos because you let them, after reading Tik Tok terms and conditions, they literally state that they are allowed to view your history and or data on your phone to equally match your viewing aesthetic. So everything that I like or comment on, TikTok keeps and can use it for data filing and other research purposes.
    Referring back to my previous expedition to the dark side of the terms and conditions, the usage of cookies and other trackers allow the app to both track and monitor your device. Once you accept the cookies for whatever reason they tell you, whether it is to “optimize” your experience, or to carry info from site to site, your device is officially being tracked. While it is not obvious that cookies do this, you can even tell after you accept the cookies, things start to pop up almost like TikTok is reading your mind. Strange isn’t it? Overall, TikTok is nothing but another useless social media app like Instagram or Snapchat, and it is a “tiking” time bomb for your device. It’s data gathering techniques and algorithms are the reason why some of us still have trust issues.

  14. Like a lot of things, social media has its pros and cons. TikTok certainly applies to this. However, I believe the idea of TikTok selling its users information gets a worse reputation for what it might actually be doing. When a customer uses a coupon at a store, or a rewards card they are giving their information to the store telling the store what products they like and in return they are getting discounted goods. I believe this is a similar concept that TikTok is doing. The consumers are giving their information of what type of content that they like and in return they are getting more entertainment and content that they want to see.
    Many see the algorithm and the app to be terrible and how it is terrible for the app to try to force people spend more time on their app. But again this is not as different as a lot of other things in society, such as casinos. When people win, instead of giving them their payouts, they often times offer free hotel stays or a dinner so they can spend more of their money at the casinos. Or how stores will offer discounted items on birthdays and holidays. So why do people get aggravated at an app that wants the users to spend more time on it?
    Some of the cons of such an algorithm include people being exposed to fake information. This can be harmful because people will not only consume such information but spread it to others as well. TikTok like all other platforms has its share of cyberbullying which makes peoples experiences not enjoyable, thus defeating the whole purpose of using the app for enjoyment. Another con is that the app does increase people’s screen time, which is an on-going issue in the world today. However it could be said that the apps can only do so much- TikTok has adds that tell people when they believe that people have been on the app for long enough and so maybe people need to start learning more self-control.
    But with the cons there are also good things about the app TikTok. It does a very good job of keeping people connected. People are able to express themselves and share online in a way that they never could before the app was launched. Most people have the ability to post and share what they want and so the viewers will always have varying opinions and sides at their finger tips.

  15. TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and many other social media platforms can read your mind. For example, TikTok can read our minds through the videos we watch, like, comment on, and share with our closest friends. They can do this by having such a great system/algorithm that can easily detect what the viewer finds appealing or not. As a victim who has fallen into TikTok’s trap, I can truly say that TikTok’s algorithm is the best yet to come. I believe in this because quite a few times, I’ve turned to TikTok for temporary entertainment, and before I knew it 2-3 hours have gone by. This is where I believe the problem comes into play with the app TikTok.
    TikTok is a unique app because it has the ability to grasp someone’s attention from reality and solely place it on TikTok. In connection with the algorithm, due to a person’s natural instinct to continue watching videos they find satisfying or appealing. The problem begins here, although TikTok is good for entertainment purposes the app also has a negative effect on its viewers. For instance, TikTok is assisting people in becoming complacent and lazy in the real world. Simply because most people who binge-watch TikTok for hours do nothing productive nor beneficial for themselves during that time span. In addition to that, TikTok’s audience primarily is teenagers and young children all around the world.
    Although the app is user-friendly, the app tends to have content/videos not appropriate for children to view. For example videos such as sexual content, gruesome violence, etc. I believe a way TikTok could keep those potentially harmful posts to children away from them is by making new users sign up for either a children’s or adult account. If TikTok was to enforce this rule, I believe it would be easier to dissect which content goes out to specific accounts. Although TikTok is a great all-around app for entertainment, it still has a lot of room for improvement; we as humans have to improve as well and have enough self-discipline to turn the app off and come back into the real world.

  16. Anyone who has used Tik Tok can speak to how addictive it really is, myself included. One might tell themselves that they are going to take a five minute break and scroll on Tik Tok, but the chances of five minutes turning into thirty are pretty good. In my personal experience, Tik Tok was the main enemy of my productivity and quality of my sleep. After hours of research, writing, math homework, or whatever I was trying to get done, I always found myself wasting large amounts of time mindlessly scrolling on the app. Even if the time spent on the app is limited, it adds up throughout the day and by checking your screen time on your phone, you can see exactly how much time you have wasted. Due to the Tik Tok algorithm, nearly everything that came up on my feed was something that I found entertaining in some shape or form, and in return, I gave Tik Tok a large amount of my time. Similarly, I often found myself watching Tik Toks for way longer than I should have before going to bed. As a commuter, I need to have solid sleep to be able to get through my day and not fall asleep sitting in traffic on my way home. I typically wake up at 5:00 a.m. and aim to be asleep by 9:30 p.m. Due to the seemingly impossible feat of staying off TIk Tok, getting out of bed in the morning and falling asleep at a reasonable hour became more and more challenging. Eventually, I deleted the app and strive to use my time more productively. As a result, my sleep has improved, my productivity around school has improved, and instead of mindlessly scrolling, I started reading to give my mind productive breaks as needed. Overall, quality of life in general has improved since I deleted the app, and I recommend doing the same for anyone who has trouble staying on task and increasing productivity.

  17. TikTok has risen to be one of, if not the most, used social media apps of the past decade. TikTok was originally known as a dancing app where creators would use popular songs and sounds and create dances to them. Since then, TikTok has grown at an exponential rate in terms of content, users, and revenue on the corporate level as well as for creators. As nice as that sounds, TikTok is also notoriously known for being one of the most addictive apps as people will scroll through short 20 second videos for hours on end. One of the largest reasons why TikTok is so addicting to use is because of their extensive content algorithm that allows its users watch their favorite kind of videos repeatedly. This New York Times article explains that TikTok is essentially “reading your mind” and how they are able to do so through their algorithms. TikTok uses four main algorithms that include user value, long-term user value, creator value, and platform value. Each of these algorithms have a specific use and TikTok is programmed to one or more of these algorithms to provide taylor made content for each specific user. When people use social media apps such as TikTok, I feel as if they do not completely understand the amount of mathematical data that goes into what appears on your screen. Each time a user watches, comments, likes, or shares a video; all of those sources of interaction are stored in TikTok’s database which allows them to feed you the content that you interact with the most.

    TikTok has become such an easy way to get information, in terms of popular culture, politics, and more that many people will load up TikTok and use it for their primary source of information. In my personal opinion, I feel this can lead to a lot of misinformed people as TikTok is primarily only 20 second or so clips, so there is no logical way to absorb the whole story when each post is condensed into that amount of time. Another reason why I feel TikTok can be harmful is because of the amount of time people, on average, spend on the app in general as well as in one sitting. As explained before, TikTok’s algorithms will filter through all the content you view and feed you the type of content that you interacted with the most. Furthermore, you will be less likely to want to close out of the app if you are enjoying what you are watching. This can potentially be harmful due to lack of productivity with work, school, and extracurriculars. As the may be an extreme case where students would let social media prevent them from doing other things, it does happen.

  18. Tik-Tok has been a major revelation in the world of social media ever since it was introduced in early 2016. It has been revolutionary in the way we see social media in videos being short but entertaining. The algorithm they have used it have even prompted to similar features being introduced in apps such as Facebook and Instagram. Personally being someone that uses Tik-Tok I will admit that it is entertaining and takes up a lot of my time. However, as the article states the “You Page” does seem to read my mind. The algorithm that is present shows me videos that pertain to me specifically which is unique. Although I know that it is catering to my specific needs to be entertained, I always do wonder how much of my personal information is being collected and used for their needs. It is a dangerous world to be divulging in and especially since the allegations made against Facebook about data selling one cannot be too careful these days with social media. During late 2020 there was serious discussion in the United States about banning the app on all platforms due to the security risks that it implicates. Countries such as India and Russia have Banned the app for almost a year now due to its data security threats.

    Tik-Tok also serves to show the damage these addicting apps causes individuals also. Personally on my phone I can estimate that I spend about 4-5 hours on the app daily. Its addictive nature can show how damaging it can be in relation to all the important duties that one must do. These apps hinder us on daily from unlocking our full potential and if we do not cut it out or at the very least limit them, we may be allowing it to take control of our lives.

  19. The purpose of each social media is to make a profit by selling the advertisements to the customers. When we approach the whole issue of TikTok and the addictivness of social media in general, we need to note that their primary target is to make money from us, the customers. I highly doubt that TikTok or Facebook use their algorithms to promote certain things like suicide, depression, or drugs. Of course, we may argue that some social media platforms work with the government and have to promote the government’s interests, whatever those interests might be. However, in general, there is no intent by social media to cause suicide, depression, or any other destructive for a human being habit.
    The algorithm that Tik Tok uses aims to detect our preferences and hobbies, so that they could feed us the content that will most likely catch our attention. it is important to note that every social media is fighting for the amount of users and, most importantly, for our time. The amount of time we spend on a platform is crucial for the social media marketing department. The more sophisticated data the marketers have on the amount of time we spend on a platform and amount of new users entering the platform, the more potential companies will be willing to invest into selling their products though advertismnet on that platform.

    I personally think that there is nothing wrong with that. Various social media platforms invent newer and more enhanced algorithms in order to attract more users into the platform, which will maximize their profits from selling advertisement. It is also worth mentioning that TikTok has helped me personally a lot and taught me so many new things and ways of how to become successful in a certain task or a hobby. It is up to each individual to decide whether they want to use TikTok for educational purposes or as a source of spending free time. TikTok, similarly to alcohol, can be both harmful and beneficial depending on the amount and ways it is used in. While TikTok is a highly addictive platform, it is up to a person whether he wants to become addicted or not. Again, TikTok is implementing its enhanced algorithms to maximize its profit, while we, as users, have to decide in which ways we will use Tik Tok, and how much time we are ready to spend on it.

    I believe that a human being is sophisticated enough to make his own choices on how he wants to spend his free time. Every single business or service is fighting for our attention, some better than others, but it is up to us what kind of product or service we consume, and foremost, how much time we are ready to sacrifice for a specific product or service like Tik Tok.

  20. This article caught my attention because Tiktok has become extremely popular during the past few years and I myself use the social media platform as well. I noticed even on my own TikTok page that I would continuously see videos relating to topics I am interested in such as beauty videos, basketball, and dancing, which is what keeps me captivated on using the app because it adapts to my interests. I have heard about the algorithm through social media spreading that information, but the article opened my eyes to see how truly smart the Tiktok algorithm invention was from a business aspect. Catering to an individual’s interests and making their Tiktok pages beneficial to their enjoyment is a smart way to keep them engaged in the app and use it more because personally, it works on me as well, which is quite weary to think that an app can collect information about me to present to me videos I am interested in Guillausme Chaslot, the founder of Algo Transparency said in the article that “Each video a kid watches, TikTok gains a piece of information on him. In a few hours, the algorithm can detect his musical tastes, his physical attraction, if he’s depressed, if he might be into drugs and much other sensitive information. There’s a high risk that some of this information will be used against him. It could potentially be used to micro-target him or make him more addicted to the platform.” The article brought up “sides” of TikTok and I am familiar with this term because it is a term used on this social media platform depicting and separating videos for those personal interests and is sometimes the same videos shown to other people on the same side as you. The issue with the algorithm is that I believe, depending on the emotion you are feeling, specifically, if you are sad, it can be dangerous for the mental health of individuals using the app because we will tend to watch more sad videos and like and comment on them, which is what Tiktok will out more of for us to see, feeding into our emotion. I think it is important for the government to make sure the privacy and information of Americans using Tiktok is causing security concerns because of how many people use it. I have noticed many young children are utilizing social media in this generation and this can be a threat to them. Tiktok will show videos of their interests but sometimes, videos shown can be inappropriate for their age. Because Tiktok has the connotation of being addictive, people should be careful with how much time they spend on TikTok and what they are posting. Parents of underage children should be more aware of what their children are doing on their phones to protect their privacy.

  21. What is tiktok? It’s a platform we all know about even if you don’t have one. Knowing someone that has it, maybe you want to download it. It’s a video sharing app, where you can share and create videos about anything. This article titled “how tiktok reads your mind” it a good topic to know about and talk about. It’s something we use in daily life where we spend hours and we don’t even notice how many hours we were on the app. There are many that don’t understand the app’s algorithm and how it perceives or recognizes its user. Tiktok tends to the users and what are their preferences or what they like. On the app there is a part where you call for your page. The algorithm there is to find videos that relate to one of which the user watches repeatedly and will show more of it. Even the type of video that you like more. Doing this the app is constantly customized for each of the users liking. Everyone for you page is different for its liking. By this everyone can know what they like or what they are into. Even what their hobbies are. On my tiktok are many videos about business and flipping housing. That is something that I like. They can tell that. Also funny videos and that something that makes me happy so they can recognise that. Also we can to a topic the tiktok algorithm can also be like an addiction. Addiction is something we can’t stop doing. Social media is a world where everyone can get what they want. Where can find their comfort zone. If they are feeling lonely, social media can help that. Tiktok is an addict. They take what people are seeing and the app will continue to show what you like. All that will show and continue watching and listening is something you like and you already know. Also what you agree with. Tiktok will continue showing what you agree with and that can bring a diaggree with others that don’t accept that way. It’s amazing to know and recognize how an app can read your mind and video to your liking. It’s good to be aware of how much time you are spending on tiktok. The algorithm of tiktok is the sense that takes our mind and can know what we are thinking.

  22. There have been multiple instances where I have asked myself, “Is TikTok reading my mind?”. The answer is clearly no. TikTok can “read” the minds of users using an algorithm created by data created by its users. The four main goals of TikTok’s algorithm are user value, long-term user data, creator value, and platform value. So far, I think that TikTok has accomplished all its goals. TikTok’s algorithm puts videos that align with users’ specific interests on their For You Page which makes users come back to use the platform. This is why kids these days are addicted to going on TikTok.

    The security of TikTok has been a topic of discussion for many years now. TikTok is said to collect search and browsing histories, location data, draft videos, and more from its users. TikTok has already been a victim of hacking; hackers stole around two billion user records and 790GB worth of user data. Additionally, there were a few times where some users’ private draft videos have been leaked without their permission.

    A part of TikTok that I enjoy is the “sides” to TikTok. In addition to finding videos on your For You Page that is just for you, you will also find videos that a large percentage of the population will see. TikTok uses likes, comments, captions, sounds, and hashtags to ensure that users are being given videos they would enjoy. TikTok most definitely has an algorithm that puts out videos of certain creators to boost their fame such as Charli D’Amelio or Addison Rae. In Summer 2022, the only videos you would find on your For You Page were from these big creators. Now, however, I will see videos from D’Amelio or Rae one every thousand videos I scroll past. TikTok’s algorithm changes constantly and both users and creators get annoyed. Users are not getting videos they would be interested in seeing while creators’ videos are not being put on users For You Pages, so they are not receiving any exposure.

    A large issue with the TikTok algorithm is that inappropriate videos or videos about mature topics are placed on the For You Pages for young users to watch. As the article states, “the app’s push toward ‘sad’ content could indue self-harm”. I do agree that algorithmic recommendations pose a social threat to all users, especially younger ones. You never know what kind of video you will scroll to. One video can be a nice clothing haul video while the video right after can be a video of someone murdering a chicken. However, the chance of seeing disturbing content on TikTok has not stopped people from using the platform. TikTok’s algorithm tries to get people addicted rather than giving them what they really want, and their algorithm has succeeded. I use TikTok for around 3 hours every day and only about 10% of the videos I watch are videos I enjoyed watching. All users should beware will using TikTok because you never know what kind of content the algorithm will push for you.

  23. I’ve had TikTok ever since it first came out and have loved using it since. It has been one of my favorite social media apps since freshman year of high school as it has entertained me a bunch. One thing about TikTok that is very noticeable is the algorithm. Once you like a video, you will get a bunch of videos related to what you liked in a short amount of time. For example, the other day I liked a video about a TV show, The Walking Dead, and shortly after I got spammed with a bunch of The Walking Dead TikTok videos. I personally love the algorithm because it’s so easy to like a video and get even more videos related to your liked video. TikTok does a very good job of keeping you always entertained. All social media apps have algorithms; Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but none of them compare to the algorithm used by TikTok. TikTok’s is so fast and quick compared to these other social media platforms, which makes me enjoy the platform more than the others. It has gotten to the point where TikTok knows me better than myself. The one downside about TikTok is that it is very addictive, and I find It hard sometimes to put my phone away and go to bed because I am so entertained by these videos that I keep on scrolling through. TikTok does a very good job of using the little information we search up, like, and watch to put on our feed. TikTok is not reading our minds, they are just doing a very good job with their algorithm to put ads and videos we are interested in on our feed. It will be interesting to see in the future how TikTok will improve their algorithm and hopefully I will be less addicted to TikTok so I can sleep instead of scrolling through videos all night long.

  24. My perspective is that Tiktok is among the most addictive apps of our time and has become a global sensation in no time. Personally, I find it hard to resist spending my free time on it. I attribute this to the app’s algorithm, which seems to work by showing more videos in your feed that match your interests the longer you watch and like them. This mechanism is what leads some to claim that Tiktok “manipulates your mind” by selecting videos that capture your attention and keep you engaged. As an example, I’m a big fan of the TV show “Family Guy” and tend to watch and like every clip of it that appears on my feed, which then prompts Tiktok to feature more Family Guy content. Similarly, as someone who was interested in becoming a marine biologist, I’ve always been drawn to ocean-related videos on Tiktok, which I watch to completion and “like,” causing the algorithm to show me more of them. I find that Tiktok can be an informative app, despite some people dismissing it as a platform for trivial dances. I’ve learned a lot of interesting facts about the ocean that I wasn’t aware of before thanks to Tiktok. Ultimately, it’s the app’s algorithm that determines what appears on my feed and shapes my viewing habits, which explains why some perceive it as a mind-controlling tool.

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