Viewer interaction with TikTok algorithm

By Priscilla Hernandez

The algorithm on TikTok plays an essential role in what typeof news media users view but there is no direct connection with the news media

People may believe that TikTok is filling user’s feed with curated content instead of news about what is going on in the world.

While it is possible, it is not the whole truth. 

 Users see what is preferred and most interacted with on the TikTok app.

Most users find themselves scrolling through the platform’s “For You” page, which is generated by an algorithm that is customized to the user. The algorithm is built based on the users data. 

The data includes liked videos, saved videos, and who they follow. 

Based on the following data, the users algorithm will consist of videos that are similar to what they currently interact with. 

For a user’s page to include news media would mean the user has engaged and shown interest in news media.

The following news outlets have accounts on TikTok:  ABC, NBS, CBS, Yahoo and The Washington Post.

 Users who follow media outlets are more likely to see events being covered by these outlets on their feeds.

It’s no surprise that some outlets are right-wing  and others that align more to the lef. Some viewers may forget that, since they follow a certain outlet because they like how the news is being reported.

 A conservative news outlet like Fox News, which if a user were to follow them on TikTok they would see a conservative algorithm and vice versa if they followed a liberal outlet such as MSNBC. 

A user is who unaware of this, may feel news media they are consuming on TikTok is one-sided. Realistically the user’s data ultimately leads to promoting a one-sided perspective. 

Interacting with outlets that lean one way will affect a user’s TikTok experience. 

For example, a user who consume more conservative media will see more content from influencers that mainly touch base with conservative conversation. 

This would also also be the same for someone who interacts with left-aligned outlets. 

A problem occurring is users will find themselves using TikTok as a news source.

At most a TikTok video could be 10 minutes long, but the average video is a minute long. This causes videos to be cut down. 

The person who edits videos cuts parts of a story, which causes important details of the story to be lost. 

Editing the stories to upload them on TikTok leads to bias by making one side look better than the other or only showing a one-sided story.

Overall, it creates an unpleasant experience for the viewer, especially if they don’t align with what is being promoted. 

TikTok was created to be light-hearted app and a way for users to express themselves, not to create a relationship with the news media. 

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