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TikTok reveals the recipe of its system of recommendations #foryou #pourtoi

On the application TikTok, see the video chosen for the selections #foryou, or #pourtoi in French, is the royal road to the buzz. This home page - in reality an endless stream of micro-videos of 15 seconds - is customized for each of the 2 billion users. But according to what criteria? This selection, achieved thanks to an algorithm self-learning, depends on factors hitherto obscure. TikTok has chosen to reveal a part of it.

"This flow operates through a referral system that sends to each user the content that will be of interest to him and him alone, explains TikTok on his blog. Part of the magic of TikTok comes from the fact that there is not a single stream #pourtoi - even if different users may be faced with a video that stands out from the crowd - each flow is unique and made-to-measure for everyone."

Preferences hidden

TikTok, which belongs to the chinese ByteDance, reveals a few characteristics of this selection. Typically, a recommendation system uses the interactions between the user and the application. On TikTok, the page #pourtoi reflects the unique preferences of each user. The algorithm ranks the videos based on the preferences expressed directly by each user (his interests). Or indirectly, over time, such as "likes", shares, the exploration of such or such a hashtag or simply the fact of having looked at such and such a video until the end.

The system is affine then the flow from the interactions with the videos. To videos of 15 seconds or less, and therefore four screenings per minute minimum, the platform can identify very quickly the areas of interest of a user (an asset also to target advertisements). "The best way to improve your flow #pourtoi is, so use it and have a good time on the application", gliding TikTok. It works terribly well: in the United States, users spend more time, on average, per session, than on Facebook.

videos in stock are filtered according to these criteria custom. Among the attributes of the video taken into consideration, we find its legend, and its soundtrack (which helps to create memes, music, and so of sharing in the community), the hashtags and the comments posted. The country of origin between little consideration. "A high standard, such as the fact that a user watches a video until the end, will have more weight than a weak criterion, such as the fact that the creator of the video has the same nationality as the user," said TikTok.

videos incoming in the criteria are then classified in an order that reflects the likely interest of the user. Each classification is therefore specific to each stream #pourtoi. But, so as not to tire, TikTok sliding voluntarily of videos that do not correspond with the preferences collected from their users, to their "filter bubble".

account Only the deemed interest for a user

Nothing revolutionary. The peculiarity of TikTok compared to other social networks can be found elsewhere: the number of subscribers of a creator determines only in a minor way the dissemination of its content. "Neither the number of subscribers, nor the fact that a creator has done in the past videos success does not fall directly in line with the recommendation system," explain the teams of TikTok.

The volume of propagation of the content does not depend on the size of the fan base

Denis Barrier, Cathay Innovation

Whether you have 10 or 50 million subscribers, TikTok will distribute your video only if its algorithms believe that it will be of interest to other users. The star Jennifer Lopez has been able to experience recently. It has 44 million fans on Twitter and 2.8 million on TikTok. But a video done for these networks has been seen a million times on Twitter, and 18 million times on TikTok. "With 15 times less fans, it has achieved 18 times more views: the viral effect is rising much faster on TikTok," observes Denis Barrier, who heads the fonds franco-chinese Cathay Innovation. Therefore, it is very clear that the volume of propagation of the content does not depend on the size of the fan base."

What counts is the quality of the video according to the criteria of the algorithm of recommendation. "This is a fundamental difference with Facebook or Instagram: the content is proposed and recommended solely on the basis of the assumed interest for a particular user," explains Rachel Daydou, head of the office in China of FaberNovel. In sum, TikTok is a platform of an egalitarian.

The editorial team conseilleDésinformation: TikTok wants to reassure BruxellesByteDance, the chinese who wants to entertain the mondeComment TikTok has conquered the teen planèteTikTok takes on a political dimension for young AméricainsSujetsByteDanceTikTokAucun comment

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