Sometimes ‘heating’ is the reason videos go viral on TikTok


You’d better sit down and crack open the smelling salts for this shocking revelation: sometimes when videos go viral on TikTok, it’s not an entirely organic phenomenon.

This, of course, is an idea that many people would assume is the case, but now Forbes has offered some evidence in the form of internal documents and interviews with current and former staff.

The focus is a practice called ‘heating’, described by an internal doc as “boosting videos into the For You feed through operation intervention to achieve a certain number of video views”.

It went on to explain that these ‘heated’ videos account for “around 1-2%” of daily total video views on TikTok, and that it’s often used to benefit influencers and brands (and dare we speculate: big music artists?) who TikTok is working with.

TikTok offered an official response, confirming that “we promote some videos to help diversify the content experience and introduce celebrities and emerging creators to the TikTok community”, while claiming that in the US “that content makes up approximately .002% of videos in For You feeds”.

We’re struggling to feel outraged about this: it’s interesting to have new light shone into TikTok’s recommendation workings. However, the company’s music teams should probably prepare for an influx of requests from labels and artists who want to be heated up.

Written by: Stuart Dredge