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TikTok: watch out for the "rabbit hole"

By  YEET MAGAZINE | August 9, 2021, 6:09 AM

TikTok, a social media where we share videos, has a great algorithm: if you like a certain category, such as animal videos for example, you can be sure that you will get it for you. But be careful not to fall into the rabbit hole.

If there is one experience common to all Internet users, it is falling into a rabbit hole. Clearly, this means going on the Web to watch something specific (his emails, for example) and finding himself two hours later watching a documentary on the reproduction of starfish.

With the arrival of social media, falling into a rabbit hole is more and more frequent: algorithms know us by heart and know what will keep us on their platform. While it can be nice to discover new things that relate to our interests, the rabbit hole can also be dangerous.

Take TikTok. A recent Wall Street Journal survey found that within two hours of signing up on the app, it figured out who you were and what you liked. The app will immediately suggest several videos on different topics: humor, sport, animals, cooking… The algorithms will then analyze your reactions: do you watch the video several times? Are you skipping it? Do you "like" it?

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Let's say you like cooking. As you go along, you will soon have only that as recommendations, and you will then fall into this famous rabbit hole, where popular cooking videos will give way to others with less and less views and, above all, which will be less and less moderate. As long as these are cooking videos, it doesn't hurt anyone. But let's imagine this time around that you stumble upon an antivax video or suicide.

All you have to do is watch a post several times ... And the rabbit hole falls into place. A few hours later, you may see videos calling to unplug the fridges of vaccination centers or encouraging you to end your life. Quite scary for an app where the majority of users are under 24.