TikTok is once again at the center of controversy. An investigation carried out by Forbes found that the popular social video network uses a secret button to make any video viral. known as Heating (warm-up), this button boosts the view count on selected content that is displayed in the “For You” tab. According to internal documents, Heating is a strategy for the company to attract more influencers and brands inflating the figures of the content.
TikTok’s secret button push the videos of the feed to enhance its distribution. To do this, ByteDance has created a series of documents that illustrate the steps to be followed by the company’s employees and the situations in which it could be used. Although the idea of promoting content is beneficial for greater diversity, or to give preference to videos of general interest, this button It is used to close commercial agreements.
According to inside sources, TikTok employees use the viral button to attract companies that ByteDance wants to work with. The employees inflate the number of views to benefit accounts and sign alliances. The Heating has a considerable effect, as the total views of these videos represent between 1 and 2 percent of the daily views of the videos on the platform.
The videos that TikTok recommends are not always based on your tastes
Although this practice does not seem unreasonable, it is surprising that an important part of the content that the app recommends is not related to your tastes or with what the algorithm learns about you. A ByteDance spokesperson told Forbes that promote some videos “to help diversify the content experience and introduce up-and-coming celebrities and creators to the TikTok community.” With this, the company would be accepting the practice of heating videos, although it assures that They only make up 0.002 percent of the “For You” feed.
Another important issue is that the use of the button to go viral is the responsibility of ByteDance employees. According to the report, workers have abused Heating to boost your personal accounts or those of your family. Although the actions would violate company policies, that does not stop the staff from taking advantage and viralizing whatever they want.
Some experts have criticized this measure arguing that ByteDance is not clear with its users regarding the origin of the content. A common person, who uploads videos with the hope that one will go viral one day, would believe that it is a matter of consistency and quality of content to achieve it. The reality is that ByteDance does not offer the same conditions for everyone and only benefits those who can profit.
ByteDance has no problem using a button to viralize the content
The measure is open to criticism to a certain extent, since it other companies would be doing the same without you realizing it. Yes, Instagram and YouTube place labels to differentiate ads or sponsored content from that uploaded by their users. Nevertheless, the algorithm of each platform is something that nobody knowssince all companies shield this information to maintain control.
bytedance has shown that he doesn’t mind breaking some rules for his own personal gain. A few months ago, a network exploiting Syrian refugees was uncovered on TikTok. Intermediaries gained access to accounts with the help of employees of the Chinese company and agencies that push the algorithms. The objective: to obtain donations in the form of virtual gifts supposedly destined for people displaced by the war.