Q&A: How TikTok’s ‘black box’ algorithm and design shape user behavior

TikTok’s swift ascension to the upper echelons of social media is often attributed to its recommendation algorithm, which predicts viewer preferences so acutely it’s spawned a maxim: “The TikTok algorithm knows me better than I know myself.” The platform’s success was so pronounced that it has seemed to spur other social media platforms to shift their designs. When users scroll through X or Instagram, they now see more recommended posts from accounts they don’t follow.

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