An advanced algorithm is addictive, especially in young people.
The algorithm of the successful TikTok short video application has four objectives, as explained in an internal document by its Chinese creators: temporary value for the user, long-term value for the user, value for the creator and value for the platform.
The text, written by the TikTok design team in Beijing, gives a clear picture of the philosophy of the application and the excellent knowledge it has acquired about human needs. The boredom of everyday life and our sensitivity to cultural stimuli provide an explanation for the success of TikTok and how addictive it can be.
At the same time, the text reveals the close relationship between TikTok and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, as the US State Department prepares to release a report on the potential dangers of the US national security application.
The application, which allows millions of users to watch short videos, has become popular thanks to its ease of use and the ability to offer even the most ignorant to create videos with background music, stunning effects and fun icons.
Those users who "consume" TikTok material without publishing are also monitored, with the application having acquired a rare ability to direct the user to areas of interest.
A recent report in the US press showed how TikTok concludes what your preferences are depending on how much time you spend watching specific videos.
This process can be harmful for teenagers, with the application frequently promoting material advertising self-harm.
TikTok responds to this problem by removing any video that violates its already strict usage rules.
The internal text explains that TikTok's company seeks to add new active users every day, emphasizing two crucial elements: the return of users to the application and the length of time each user of the application stays on its screen.
The experience of many users is often likened to addiction, convincing many analysts that such algorithms pose a social threat. "The system tells us that time is the most critical parameter for TikTok. The algorithm is designed in such a way that users are addicted and never satisfied"Says Guillaume Saslo, an algorithm expert and critic of their use by applications such as YouTube and TikTok.
«I think it is crazy to allow an algorithm to direct the lives of our children. Every video a child watches offers TikTok some information about that child. In a few hours the algorithm can draw conclusions about his musical preferences, his sexual orientation, if he consumes drugs, etc.
"There is a strong possibility that this information could be used against him to reinforce his addiction to the platform."
The text also proves that TikTok has not distanced itself from its Chinese parent company, an issue that had preoccupied the Donald Trump administration in 2020, with the White House raising the demand to sell the application to the American company Oracle, friendly to the then president.