TikTok has confirmed this forbes that some of its US employees have the opportunity to promote videos to “introduce celebrities and aspiring developers to the TikTok community.” The statement comes as part of a report on TikTok’s “Heating” button, which forbes says, can be used to place featured videos on users’ For You pages and helps increase views by bypassing the algorithm that supposedly controls the TikTok experience.
Jamie Favazza, a spokesman for TikTok, said forbes that the increase in views of certain videos is not the only reason for the warming. TikTok will also “promote some videos to diversify the content experience” (read: Make sure your feed doesn’t consist entirely of one or two trends), he said. Favazza also suggests that TikTok doesn’t do this that often, claiming that only “0.002% of videos in For You feeds” are heated. According to an internal document obtained by forbesHowever, heated videos reportedly make up “around 1-2 percent” of “total daily video views.”
The warming of TikTok can give developers and brands a sense of winning on the platform
According to the report, heated videos will not be given a label showing that they have been boosted by TikTok like ads or sponsored posts are. Instead, they appear like any other videos the algorithm would have picked for you.
The news is not necessarily a surprise. There were reports for years that TikTok persuaded politicians and companies to use its platform with promises of promoted content, and companies, particularly in the music industry, have made no secret of using the platform to promote their brands.
TikTok would also be far from the only social media company promoting video in an unnatural way. Facebook reportedly knew it was showing inflated view counts and didn’t fix it immediately to lure advertisers and media companies to its platform. (It ended up paying $40 million to settle a lawsuit over the issue.) While that’s not exactly the same scenario — TikTok videos do seem to get genuine views, even if they don’t go viral organically — the effect might be similar to; People end up thinking they will do better on TikTok than they actually do.
It also means TikTok picks winners and losers: creators and brands may lose a spot on the For You page from someone to someone more closely related to the company. After forbesthere have been incidents of employees heating up content they shouldn’t have and promoting videos from friends, partners and even their own accounts.
Creators could also lose interest in the platform if their videos underperform compared to those being promoted, as TikTok’s lack of transparency on warming makes it difficult to tell which videos came out on top organically are.