TikTok Melding Actual Life and On-line Life with New Algorithm
Many TikTok users complain that the app changes its recommendation algorithm to connect them with people they know in real life.
Tick tock optimizes its algorithm to encourage users to follow people they know in real life. The user base of TikTok, the world’s leading short-format video app, has exploded in recent years despite controversy over Chinese ownership and threats to ban it from the Trump administration. The format of the app has proven so successful that most social apps have been forced to launch similar products (such as Instagram reels or YouTube shorts) in order to stay relevant to the younger population.
Even when other apps were busy ripping off TikTok, ByteDance’s proprietary platform stood firm to pursue its own path. While other social media networks like Facebook built an empire by connecting users with their real friends and family, TikTok became a phenomenon by mostly staying away from that path. Instead, the app’s recommendation algorithm has been known to broadcast videos based on a user’s viewing habits, not whether or not the user knows the video uploader in real life. However, this could change if the latest report has something to offer.
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Many TikTok users and creators complain that the app changes its recommendation algorithm to try to connect them with people they know in real life. According to Wired, creators are asked to follow their friends and family, or their relatives and acquaintances suddenly start following them on the platform. Similar complaints abound on Twitter, with one user saying he doesn’t want his “co-worker, ex or old friend” to see his videos. Others complain about recommendations that are a little too narrow for comfort. The general consensus seems to be that the new algorithm creates privacy problems for everyone.
Affected are users who have synchronized their phone contacts with TikTok
According to most of the tweets, the problem only affects people who have their contacts synced with their TikTok accounts. In fact, the Wired report also suggests that some of the users claim to have “unwittingly” synced their contacts with the app. Most of the users affected by this issue are concerned about their privacy after the obvious change in TikTok’s recommendation algorithm. For example, one New Yorker said her father suddenly started following her on TikTok and may find out about her sexual orientation before she was ready to come out to her family.
For its part, TikTok has denied that there are any privacy concerns with the app. According to a TikTok spokesperson, the app offers “a range of privacy settings and opt-in functions” that users can use to personalize the app according to their preferences. However, the app’s privacy settings clearly state that it will “propose your account to phone contacts” unless the user manually declines. Additionally, while users of the app do need to give permission to access their contact list, most people simply click their way through the terms and conditions without reading them carefully, which means there is a good chance they will Tick tock creates a privacy problem for its users without them even realizing it.
Next: TikTok Shopping: How It Works and What To Buy
Source: Wired, Twitter
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