The GuardianThe Guardian

How does TikTok’s uncanny algorithm decide what you see? We tested it on three people

By Kari Paul, Johana Bhuiyan and Charlotte Simmonds

06 Nov 2022 · 8 min read

Editor's Note

Writers for the Guardian undertake an experiment to see exactly how TikTok's algorithm works.

Dance videos, viral pranks, adorable pets, beauty tutorials and 60-second recipes. A scroll through TikTok’s “For You” page offers a steady stream of strange and delightful content that can feel both chaotic and somehow perfectly suited to your tastes.

But how exactly does TikTok’s algorithm decide what to serve up, and why do you get that eerie feeling it knows you better than you know yourself?

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