A Leaked Document Offers A Glimpse Into TikTok’s Algorithm And How It Recommends Content To The Community

A leaked document has lent the general populace some insight into TikTok’s algorithm, how it functions, and what constitutes as riveting content in its eyes.

The TikTok algorithm has constantly been at the center of a lot of praise (if you’re gen Z) and derision (anyone older than 30). The platform does have its own way of tailoring feeds to everyone’s tastes, while also giving out content that is typically comedy gold. To say that TikTok has essentially become the new home of Vine, in terms of both algorithm and wacky content, would not be an overstatement. At any rate, useful as the algorithm is, details on how it operates are scant, as neither TikTok’s devs, nor their parent company ByteDance have gone into details regarding the matter. Then again, considering the fact that there is now a leaked document available to the general populace, may it doesn’t need to.

The document was leaked to the New York Times, with the publication going on to write a story on the matter. From the contents of said study, we can now mock up a relatively clear image of how it is that the algorithm picks videos for users to enjoy. Starting off, TikTok has four metrics via which it measures success in content. Those metrics are user value, long-term user value, creator value, and platform value. Their integration into the algorithm proper is TikTok’s attempt at diversifying its own content, ensuring that people aren’t constantly recommended the same thing. While it’s still unclear how the algorithm measures value, probably from a comparison between overall performance as well as popularity with individual users, the structure of recommendations starts to become just a bit clearer.

Creation quality is yet another separate metric that TikTok considers when gauging how much a user’s TikTok should be sent out to the world. This is measured by a mixture of posting rate, creator retention, and whether or not the creator is monetized. Even then, however, many videos posted by individuals that don’t monetize their content makes it to the front pages, displaying TikTok’s dedication to diversification. However, every now and then the videos making it to one’s recommended are less than wholesome. Some TikToks displaying body dysmorphic tendencies or depictions of self-harm are occasionally encountered, bolstered in views from a community of young, impressionable individuals who don’t know any better. While this isn’t too common a problem encountered, TikTok’s algorithm is so adept at curating content according to a user’s taste that such videos may become a serious problem down the line.

Read next: With 2021 Coming To A Close, TikTok Honors The Best Creators And Content Across The Year On Its Platform
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