After losing business in several countries, TikTok finally decided to reveal its algorithm to the people. It is a huge step taken by the makers of the company, as TikTok is a world-famous application and numerous competitors wanted to know the development details of the application.
TikTok has millions of followers on its platform, and it will be interesting to know how TikTok manages such a broad user database on its incredibly popular platform.
Well, we all are familiar with the popularity of TikTok in the global market. The company evaluation is somewhere around $20-30 billion.
According to a TikTok spokesperson, the big decision was taken to end the speculation of TikTok being a Chinese government spy application which the government is using to gain data of the users of other countries.
In a statement, Michael Beckerman TikTok’s vice president in charge of U.S. public policy stated:
“We’re a 2-year-old company operating with the expectations of a 10-year-old company,”
“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 has developed a virtual centre in Los Angeles. They are calling it the “transparency centre.” A team of reporters visited the centre, where the TikTok team demonstrated the data practices and functioning of the algorithm.
TikTok is struggling to survive the order of banishment in the USA market. As, USA President Donald Trump has given a deadline of September 15, to the owners of the Chinese application to either face the ban, or sell the company to an American buyer.
Recently, China has also imposed a ban, restricting the export of all Chinese software. It is a step taken to prevent the Chinese application TikTok from selling its algorithm to USA buyers.
Understanding The Algorithm
The application uses the technique of machine learning to determine the most preferred content by the users. Once the content is determined, the algorithm makes sure that it shows similar content to the user. It also groups the people having similar interests and provides them with the content accordingly.
The First Time User
When the user is new to the application and opens it for the first time, the algorithm shows him eight videos from different categories. These categories are usually related to:
- Popular Trends in the social media or on the application
- And other topics
Once the algorithm gets familiar with the user choices, it will continue serving them with similar content on the application platform.
Group the content and find similarity between the videos, the algorithm uses hashtags, captions and sounds. Another method used by the algorithm to present videos to the user is by the device the user is using, the language they have selected and the country they are residing in.
The algorithm is advanced in its behavior and video presentation to the user, and it makes sure that the user is not represented with the same video which can lead to boredom and lack of interest in the application.
However, the work of the algorithm is not limited; to not showing the repeated content to the user. It makes sure that the users are presented with varieties of videos on other trending topics.
The Filter Bubble
TikTok calls its video filtering technique “the Filter Bubble.” The developer team of TikTok community keep a check on which filters are preferred by the users and how long they last before the user changes its preferences for the videos.
After the reports are generated on the filter bubbles, the developer sends the reports to the global team. The team analyzes the reports received and accordingly releases the upcoming video. It helps them to better market the trends and also gain advertisers and hire influencers.
Detecting The Upcoming Problems
The technique helps the creator analyze the shortcomings of the application and see if there is a threat to security. It helps TikTok in maintaining their user policies by eliminating any unwanted content that might propagate on their platform or trend among their users.
Roland Cloutier, TikTok’s chief security officer, states that they have already planned to hire more than 100 experts on security and privacy in the USA.
The team is planning to build an investigation response centre in Washington D.C. The team will detect and regulate any malpractice incidence in real-time.
According to Beckerman, the step towards the transparency of the application will portray the company as a leader in the Silicon Valley.
“We want to take a leadership position and show more about how the app works,” he said. “For us, we’re new, and we want to do this because we don’t have anything to hide. The more we’re talking to and meeting with lawmakers, the more comfortable they are with the product. That’s the way it should be.”
- TikTok confirmed CEO Kevin Mayer’s departure in an emailed statement and said the political dynamics of the last few months have “significantly changed” the scope of his role.
- Former Disney executive, Kevin Mayer had joined the TikTok in mid-May and resigned just after 100 days.
Kevin Mayer, TikTok Chief Executive Officer has left the company in less than four months after he joined the world’s largest short video app in mid-May. According to an internal memo viewed by Financial Times, TikTok’s general manager Vanessa Pappas will take over the position on an interim basis.
Mayer said in his letter to employees,
“In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for.”
“Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company.”
Over the last few weeks, TikTok faced tremendous pressure from the Trump administration over its links to China. On August 6, Trump also signed an order banning TikTok and WeChat in 45 days if they don’t sell the app’s U.S operations though they have time until mid-November to divest itself. Mayer “did not anticipate the extent to which TikTok would become involved in tensions between China and the U.S.”, sources reported to Financial Times.
Recently, TikTok filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for banning transactions with ByteDance. TikTok is owned by Chinese internet company Byte Dance that is caught amidst growing distrust between Washington and Beijing. Trump administration accuses the app as a national security threat to the U.S.
The impending TikTok sale attracted investors interest starting from Microsoft, the front runner to least expected Oracle.
TikTok spokesperson in a statement to TechCrunch said,
“We appreciate that the political dynamics of the last few months have significantly changed what the scope of Kevin’s role would be going forward, and fully respect his decision. We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well.”
ByteDance’s founder and CEO Zhang Yiming said Mayer had joined the firm just as it was “entering arguably our most challenging moment.”
“It is never easy to come into a leadership position in a company moving as quickly as we are, and the circumstances following his arrival made it all the more complex.”
TikTok has also been targeted in India as it was one of the 59 Chinese apps banned by the Indian government in June following a border clash between India and China.
Before joining TikTok, Kevin Mayer worked at Disney for over 27 years and was head of direct-to-consumer content and international business at Disney who oversaw the launches of Disney+ and ESPN+. Mayer left after Disney named Bob Chapek the company’s new CEO. Mayer was considered a longtime contender for the CEO position.