Change is hard, and sometimes it’s hard to explain why change has happened. Such was the case with TikTok’s algorithm change, which caused major uproar from the app’s users. To further address the issue, TikTok CEO Wang Feng made his own statement in response to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s own remarks about the effects of social media apps on user well-being. Algorithm Change Sparks Backlash from TikTok Users
How Does an Algorithm Work?
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Algorithms are the set of rules that a computer program uses to accomplish a task. In the case of social media platforms, algorithms are used to determine what content is shown to users. The algorithm looks at factors such as the time of day, the user’s location, and what type of content the user has interacted with in the past. Based on these factors, the algorithm then decides which content to show the user.
What is an Algorithm Change?
Algorithm changes are nothing new, but when they come to social media platforms that we use daily, they can be pretty jarring. An algorithm change is simply a change to the code that runs a platform or app- in this case, TikTok. This code controls what content is shown to users and in what order. Usually, these changes are made in an effort to improve the user experience or make the platform more profitable. However, sometimes these changes can have negative consequences.
When Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be changing its News Feed algorithm to prioritize posts from friends and family over those from brands and publications, there was an immediate backlash from publishers who saw their traffic plummet. In response to this outcry, Zuckerberg issued a public apology and promised to make changes to the algorithm.
How does an algorithm change create a backlash?
When TikTok made changes to its algorithm, users were quick to voice their displeasure. The changes resulted in a decrease in views and engagement for many users, which led to a negative reaction from the TikTok community. Some users even threatened to leave the platform if the algorithm wasn’t reverted back to its original state. While it’s not clear if TikTok will make any changes in response to the backlash, it’s clear that algorithm changes can have a significant impact on a platform’s user base.
Why is this happening now?
Last week, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be changing its algorithm to prioritize content from friends and family over content from Pages and publishers. This announcement was met with immediate backlash from the TikTok community, which relies on Pages to generate content. Acknowledging this issue, CEO of TikTok Bobby Ahuja wrote a post in response: We are deeply sorry for any unintended disruption this may have caused, he said. However, we can assure you that it will not affect the experience you’ve come to know on our platform. The comment seems aimed at appeasing an audience that is so used to getting what they want from their favorite creators and Page owners.
What are ways to avoid this?
If you’re a TikTok user, there are a few things you can do to avoid the algorithm change. First, make sure you’re following your favorite creators. Second, engage with the content you see – like, comment, and share. Third, use hashtags in your posts.
Finally, keep up-to-date on changes to TikTok’s algorithms by following their official accounts on social media or in their app updates.
On August 27, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be changing its algorithm to give preference to content from friends and family over public content, including content from publishers and brands. This change was made in response to growing criticism over the amount of time users spend on the platform, as well as the proliferation of fake news. For some users, this change may have impacted their daily routine: it has been reported that young people use social media platforms like TikTok for entertainment more than any other age group. While others were concerned about the impact this new algorithm will have on businesses and advertisers who rely on these platforms for advertising, many popular celebrities took to Twitter to voice their concerns about how this could impact them and their fans. Some entertainers such as Ansel Elgort said they will take a break from the app while they see how it goes but others such as Bella Thorne stated she is deleting her account altogether: Facebook has been using my videos for a week now so I’m done with them.
Why Does Facebook Care?
In the past few months, Facebook has been under fire for a variety of reasons. From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony in front of Congress, the social media giant has been in the hot seat. So, it’s no surprise that Facebook would be interested in acquiring TikTok, a popular video-sharing app with a large Gen Z following. But what is a bit more surprising is why they’re so intent on making this purchase. It turns out that this algorithm change has sparked backlash from TikTok users and some people have called for its removal.
Can’t Beat ‘Em? Join ‘Em?
When Instagram first introduced its Stories feature, Snapchat was quick to denounce the move, calling it a copycat product. But now, it looks like Snapchat may be taking a page out of Instagram’s playbook. On Wednesday, Snapchat announced that it would be redesigning its app to focus more on content from friends and public figures, rather than publishers and brands. The move comes as Snapchat tries to compete with the likes of Instagram and Facebook, which have been eating into its user base.
How Big of an Impact Will This Have on Other Platforms?
TikTok users are not happy with the recent algorithm change that was implemented by the app. The change has caused many popular videos to be buried and not easily accessible to users. Many users have taken to social media to voice their frustration with the app. It is yet to be seen how big of an impact this will have on other social media platforms. Zuckerberg stated in his interview with Wired that he believes the changes made to Facebook’s News Feed will help make it more relevant for everyone using the platform.