Since the earliest days of people becoming famous on YouTube, there’s been intent debate about how the platform’s recommendation algorithm works and, as a follow-on, how to game that algorithm to get more views. It’s the same for any big digital service, of course. And now TikTok is no different.

Vice has a good feature on how TikTokers are tackling the mystery of how videos end up on the app’s ‘For You’ recommendations feed. One theory: that hashtags like #fyp, #foryou, and #foryoupage have an impact – a theory that, naturally, means everyone and their aunt is now plastering those hashtags on their posts, with the videos that subsequently get recommended being hailed as proof it works, and the MANY more that don’t get recommended being ignored.

“That is one unintended consequence of these platforms keeping their algorithms so under wraps. You start to get these folk stories or urban legends about how these things work,” said digital culture researcher Becca Lewis in the article.

Of course, scammers and spammers are also trying to figure out the algorithm, as we reported yesterday on the tactics of adult-dating scam merchants on TikTok. The company has since issued a statement to Music Ally on the news, which was broken by cybersecurity firm Tenable on its blog. “TikTok has strict policies to safeguard users against fake, fraudulent or misleading content. We flag and remove most spam accounts before they can reach users’ feeds, and we continuously improve our protections, even as malicious actors work to evade our safeguards,” said a spokesperson. “TikTok had already removed all of the accounts identified as spam before this blog was published. As part of our regular process, we constantly review the tactics of malicious accounts to further strengthen our systems.”

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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