From pcmag.com

Employees of TikTok and its parent company Byte Dance manually boost the reach of videos, making them go viral, in a practice referred to internally as “heating,” Forbes reports(Opens in a new window)

Sources with intimate knowledge of the practice at TikTok and ByteDance told Forbes that staff “secretly hand-pick specific videos” and boost them into the For You page(Opens in a new window). That’s similar to other features on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter in that it shows users content that is curated to their interests via algorithms. 

An internal TikTok document seen by Forbes says the “heating” operation is done to ensure a selected video achieves “a certain number of video views.” The practice, which has not been publicly acknowledged or referred to as “heating” by TikTok or by ByteDance, was also reportedly improperly utilized by employees to boost their own accounts and the accounts of partners, friends, and family.

According to another document assessed by Forbes, improper use of the “heating” feature led to an account receiving more than 3 million views.

Official TikTok documents say the feature’s purpose is to “promote diverse content, push important information, and support creators.” A source who spoke to Forbes further revealed that the “heating” had been used to widen the reach of collaborations between TikTok and artists and NGOs.

TikTok did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment, but a company spokesperson Jamie Favazza told Forbes: “We promote some videos to help diversify the content experience and introduce celebrities and emerging creators to the TikTok community. Only a few people, based in the US, have the ability to approve content for promotion in the US, and that content makes up approximately .002% of videos in For You feeds.”

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The news comes as TikTok is being banned by state legislatures across the US. Just this week, public universities across Texas became the latest institutions to block access to TikTok on their Wi-Fi networks to comply with a state order that bans the video-sharing app on government-issued devices.

Earlier this month it was reported that TikTok employees improperly accessed the TikTok user data of two journalists and spied on them. According to Forbes(Opens in a new window), the workers tracked the journalists’ whereabouts in order to discover their sources for stories that uncovered the company’s links(Opens in a new window) to the Chinese government, among other things. The four employees who were involved in the spying campaign have lost their jobs, ByteDance said(Opens in a new window); two were based in China and two were in the US.

What’s New Now to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every morning.”,”first_published_at”:”2021-09-30T21:30:40.000000Z”,”published_at”:”2022-08-31T18:35:24.000000Z”,”last_published_at”:”2022-08-31T18:35:20.000000Z”,”created_at”:null,”updated_at”:”2022-08-31T18:35:24.000000Z”})”>

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The post TikTok Manually Boosts Reach of Select Videos to Make Them Viral first appeared on pcmag.com

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