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4 weeks ago
Inside TikTok’s Killer Algorithm

 

TikTok Wednesday revealed some of the elusive workings of the prized algorithm that keeps hundreds of millions of users worldwide hooked on the viral video app.

Why it matters: The code TikTok uses to pick your next video is a large part of what has led the two-year-old company to achieve broad popularity along with a remarkable $20-$30 billion valuation. The key asset is in play as TikTok’s Chinese parent prepares to sell its U.S. operation amid fears about its relationship with China’s government.

Driving the news: On a call with reporters Wednesday, TikTok executives said they were revealing details of their algorithm and data practices to dispel myths and rumors about the company.

  • “We’re a 2-year-old company operating with the expectations of a 10-year-old company,” said Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s vice president in charge of U.S. public policy. “We didn’t have the opportunity to grow up in the golden years of the internet, when tech companies could do no wrong. We grew up in the techlash age ,where there’s a lot of skepticism of platforms, how they moderate content and how their algorithms work.”
  • TikTok executives gave reporters a virtual tour its new “transparency center” in Los Angeles. The center will have areas for people to demo computer modules that showcase how TikTok’s algorithms and data practices work.

That’s assuming TikTok survives in its current form.

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