10 breakthrough applied sciences in 2021


TikTok recommendation algorithms

Since its launch in China in 2016, TikTok has grown to become one of the fastest growing social networks in the world. It has been downloaded billions of times and attracted hundreds of millions of users. Why? Because the algorithms that support TikTok’s “For You” feed have changed the way people get famous online.

While other platforms are more geared towards highlighting content with mass appeal, TikTok’s algorithms seem to pull a new creator out of the dark as well as a familiar star. And they’re especially adept at delivering relevant content to niche communities of users who share a particular interest or identity.

The ability of new developers to get lots of views very quickly – and the ease with which users can discover so many types of content – has contributed to the app’s impressive growth. Other social media companies are now making efforts to reproduce these features in their own apps. Abby Ohlheiser introduces a TikTok creator who was surprised by her own success on the platform.


Steven Gregory