Go watch this WSJ investigation of TikTok’s algorithm

Go watch this WSJ investigation of TikTok’s algorithm

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

TikTok users often express awe or dismay at the seemingly uncanny accuracy of the app’s recommendation algorithm. The Wall Street Journal published a video today that dives into how TikTok customizes your feed.

WSJ investigators ran an experiment where they created bot accounts with assigned interests. The bots “watched” videos in TikTok, pausing or replaying any that had images or hashtags relevant to those interests. The WSJ team reviewed the results with Guillaume Chaslot, an algorithm expert who previously worked at YouTube.

The findings line up with TikTok’s explanations of how its recommendations work. TikTok has previously said the For You feed is personalized based on the kinds of videos you interact with, how you interact with…

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