Monday, August 02, 2021

Gawker: How TikTok’s Algorithm Figures You Out

 Huh, Gawker is back? RIP that old rainbow logo

Boris Fawlty

Remember Basil Fawlty? When dressed in civilian clothes he called himself John Cleese. In real life, he and his wife Sybil ran a rather pretty hotel, which carried the Fawlty name, in a seaside resort in southwest England.... 

Who holds the welding rod? James Meek on wind power, green jobs and global capitalism

 Daily turnover of Australian and Chinese currencies about the same.

 China Covid cases rising again.

How TikTok’s Algorithm Figures You Out

Using dozens of bot accounts, The Wall Street Journal did an investigation and determined that TikTok’s algorithm needs only one piece of information to determine what you want to watch: the amount of time you spend watching individual videos. Observing your watch time and rewatching is enough for them to fill your “For You” page with recommended videos that are right in your wheelhouse after just an hour or two. That this happens so quickly and completely — 90-95% of what users see on TikTok is algorithmically determined — leads to users going down narrow-interest rabbit holes that can be dangerous, e.g. if someone’s Covid interest turns into anti-vax QAnon crap or sadness turns into video after video about depression or harming yourself.

As someone who built an entire web appthat collected people’s social media likes/faves, this focus on a single signal is fascinating. API limitations and rate limits on the number of requests would keep you from building a service with a TikTok-like algorithm for Twitter or Instagram that used likes as the only signal for whether to show someone a piece of content or not, but if you could, I bet it would be amazing.

White House Fact Sheet: “Six months into the Biden Administration’s vaccination effort, 164 million Americans are fully vaccinated, including 80 percent of seniors and more than 60 percent of adults. This is significant progress, and as a result, the country and economy are in a stronger position than January 2021.