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I have never seen so many to say "average" people on tiktok like on any other social platform, in a sense that I can relate to those people and don't feel like a celebrity is trying to feed me some content down my throat. There's so much of normalization of everything that I'm blown away by how normal Tiktok is, you can see teenagers struggling in a school, you can see people hating their 9-5 jobs, you can see crafts and arts, you can see people with disabilities living life at its fullest, cooking videos, etc.

The whole vibe is so wholesome that it's truly the first social network that feels social in a wide sense.

> I have never seen so many to say "average" people on tiktok like on any other social platform, in a sense that I can relate to those people and don't feel like a celebrity is trying to feed me some content down my throat.

Youtube was like that before ads and monetization were introduced.

For me, youtube is better now than at any other time I've used it. My feed is almost entirely very well made talks, and lessons, and tutorials. That they have a 2-3 minute "this video brought to you by ABC" doesn't bother me at all as the content is amazing. Anything I want to know there are 25+ plus different people willing to explain it to me.

I also really like today's YouTube and I even pay for it. For me the trick is that I now use it almost exclusively to watch original content made for YouTube. And there's a ton of that stuff, from DIY garage geekouts to language instruction to cooking shows. And eating shows! One of the biggest YouTubers I follow basically just goes around eating stuff.[0]

I think YouTube is slowly becoming a major platform for original content, which of course was the original promise before it rose to fame as a copyright violator's safe haven. I love seeing people like Mark Rober[1] combine great ideas with a sense of fun and decent production quality to make this new and insanely democratic form of TV. It's also fascinating to see the production quality increase as people go from hobbyist to professional.

Of the five streaming services I pay for, YouTube feels like the best deal. And I could also just not pay for it, and deal with ads.

Oh yeah and I really like TikTok too but I only watch it about once a week because time sink.

[0]: https://www.youtube.com/user/migrationology

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/user/onemeeeliondollars

How do you find this stuff? YouTube is so full of absolute garbage that's it's a struggle to find something worth watching. I watch painting videos on YouTube but spend way too much time digging.

The algorithm mostly suggests stuff I enjoy watching. I suspect the key is to avoid like the plague to click on anything that's clearly "engagement bait", and to subscribe to stuff I enjoy.

Some random examples that I really enjoy that I've stumbled over to thanks to the algorithm:










The suggestions I get look good too but I'm rarely just looking for anything interesting to watch, I want to watch something specific.

Some things I find by searching for very specific things, like say YouTubers in Thailand or (lately) modular synthesis which led me to Andrew Huang[0]. Other stuff I get pointed to by friends, eg Mark Rober for his anti theft videos which are hilarious. And some things are YouTube suggestions, the algorithm seems pretty conservative but it has turned up a few good things.

There is great stuff out there, I find the amount of garbage I actually see and have to skip over is pretty small these days.

[0]: https://youtube.com/c/andrewhuang

Cooperate with the suggestions tools.

I searched for lawn care videos 2 years ago and still get suggestions in my feed. The videos might be great, but it's not a subject I want to watch. This is pretty common from what I see.

I curate? my feed? If it suggests something I detest I mark as "not interested".

If I'm confident the channel a video comes from is likely to have nothing I'm interested in I pick "never recommend anything from this channel" or whatever the option is.

If it's a video of something like say "washing machine repair" which I know won't need recommendations of later then I right click and "open in incognito window"

If after watching a video I don't think it will generate good recommendations I remove it from my history.

Recommendations are not perfect. 3 things that would help that I wish they'd do

1) let me choose to have music separate from none music. 20%+ of my recommendations being for music is a complete waste. I'd much rather to go some special site (music.youtube.com) or (youtube.com/music) then have them mixed in with video.

2) when I pick "not interested" -> "why" -> "already watched this video" then show it as watched (put the red line under it) just like "mark as read" in email

3) don't recommend videos I already watched (this goes along with both 1 and 2. I almost never rewatch videos unless they are music videos and I don't want music mixed in with videos so the fact the 10-15% of the recommendations are for videos I already watched is a complete waste of space and time

2b) fix the UX related to not-interested. A better UX would be letting just clicking the "..." and picking "already watched" instead of the 3 step process it is now. An even better UX would be a small icon

I think it comes down to viewing habits. If you like to browse and watch anything interesting then recommendations are probably good enough and you'll like YouTube. But if you're looking for something specific (which I tend to do) then recommendations don't help. As great as a video might be, that's not the subject I want to watch right now.

Reminds me of two things. Searched for pressure cookers. For the next two years got ads for full figured bras everywhere. Made the mistake of looking for synthetic sapphires. Got ads directed at young engaged women for a year.

I've started to get annoyed by the ads for Raid Shadow Legends and Squarespace, and the product placement is getting nuts.

I had someone the other day say they didn't think the tool was "sponsored" because the company lent it to them to try, in order to see if they'd use it enough to justify keeping it. Uh, yeah, that's totally sponsored, even if it's only lent.

Some of my usual Youtube channels now have 1 or 2 big stop-the-show ads that are unrelated to their content, and then multiple product placement moments that are incredibly obvious.

It's really taking away from the content of the shows.

I know they have to eat, and producing a lot of content is expensive, but I already pay for YouTube Premium to get rid of ads. And now the ads are infesting the shows anyhow.

Edit: I also support my favorite content producers on Patreon as well.

Sucks that you cannot do away with ads even on premium. Might want to check if this sponsored-ads skip tool this can be of help in your circumstance https://github.com/ajayyy/SponsorBlock

Ooh, very interesting.

Unfortunately, I think my channels are one step ahead... They usually mix in interesting video in the background while they give their advertisement verbally. So I often can't really skip them without also skipping actual content.

But thanks for that!

"Some of my usual Youtube channels now have 1 or 2 big stop-the-show ads that are unrelated to their content"

Using youtube-dl you can get the videos without ads.

I already pay for Youtube Premium, so the ads inserted by Youtube are already gone. These are ads that the content creator themselves are putting in the video.

A sibling comment has recommended a browser addon to skip them (thanks for crowdsourcing), but it has issues, too.

Thanks, though!

The ads/monetization threshold isn't the major difference, but the remembrance of YouTube in the pre-celbrity/late night era is completely astute.

We're in a Golden Age of Tik Tok, and it won't last. We get to enjoy the chaos and caucophony of lots of people getting 15 mins of fame.

It's not gonna last :(

Maybe then it'll be Vine 2's turn.

Absolutely, I keep saying this, but TikTok reminds me of early Youtube, pre-monetization. The random homemade videos going viral, people not trying too hard, or trying to hyperoptimize every second of the video.

I know it won't last, but I am enjoying it while it lasts.

TikTok already does have ads/monetization.

Tiktok is full of girls dancing with very little or very tight clothes on for likes and attention. It's really seedy. There's subreddits dedicated to posting about these accounts.

On top of that it is designed to be addicting for the sake of addiction. It doesnt matter what the video is about once it will keep the user on the app. The algorithm will work out the perfect way for each person to be sucked in. We all know that these addicting videos won't be educational or even worthwhile. This type of stuff trends towards really useless content.

Of all the social media out there I would not let my kids use tiktok.

TikTok is very good at recommending new content based on what you engage with (watch, like, comment, etc), if your feed is full of girls dancing, it's because you spend time actually watching it instead of just moving to the next video. My feed is full of people (for some reason mostly eastern european or from central asia) working at their construction jobs.

My Tiktok has a lot of videos of people complaining about exactly this and being responded to by pointing out they are telling on themselves in a hilarious way.

Gotta hand it to the algorithm, it is always funny to me.

> they are telling on themselves in a hilarious way.

It's no secret how the algorithm tailors itself to what you watch. The hilarious thing is people thinking they're getting a 'win' when someone complains about any content. The app presents things to you and tries to grab your interest in any way. A lot of teenagers will, naturally, linger on that content for longer and then it becomes a cycle. That doesn't mean that is what they are aiming to get out of the app.

This isn't teenagers, it's adult men. It is situations where if they showed full understanding and said "I don't want it to show scantily clad teenagers to me as I have a lot of loud opinions about sex and sin but I can't stop looking at them so it keeps sending them" it would be just as funny.

It's not the complaint, it's the moralizing combined with the complaint about self selected content.

If they weren't moralizing then yeah, that's just a report of a bad experience with the algorithm. Those don't go viral.

It doesn't necessarily mean it's directly based on one's own engagement. I don't use tiktok, but on Instagram i mostly follow sports stuff related to what I enjoy (skiing, cycling, running). What content will instagram show me? The most viral content in those categories. What's the most viral content in those categories? A girl skiing in her bikini, a female cyclist with unzipped top, a runner in mini shorts stretching.

But maybe tiktok is better in this regard, heard much praise about their algorithm.

I don't think this invalidates GP's point. Sure, if you don't want the seedy content, you won't see it, but it's still there and that's still a large part of how they make money.

If a site has user contributed content there will usually be the "seedy" content. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit...if it gets big enough, a certain segment will monetize it. Usually as an advertising vehicle for their more overt content on adult sites. It's actually an interesting complaint because TikTok takes a lot of heat for taking down a lot of benign content.

"that's still a large part of how they make money"

You base this claim upon what? Gut feeling?

The viral videos that everyone knows from TikTok contain approximately zero instances of "seedy" content. They are people doing everyday things. AFV style funny videos. Some guy drinking cranberry juice and riding a skateboard. Etc.

I don’t have TikTok, but when I am sent a link to it, and watch the linked video in Safari with Wipr content blocker, after the linked video is finished, it immediately auto plays a video of a very young blonde girl/woman who claims she recently found pictures of her pre breast reduction pre meeting her husband and is going to show them to her husband or something. This happens after any linked video I am sent, all non sexual.

Only reason I remember is because I thought that was a pretty transparent attempt at the type of audience they were aiming to attract.

TikTok doesn't autoplay anything -- it repeats the video you watched. Do you mean you scrolled down?

Further, obviously the seed video that you used is going to have an enormous influence on subsequent videos (as presumably would the sender -- shared links can contain details about the sender, and if they had a logical algorithm that can play a part as well). And of course surely we all know that sites don't just track by being logged in. Even if you clear all cookies.

I just opened the TikTok homepage through a proxy in a clean instance of Firefox. First video was a woman who paints patterns on her face. Second was someone show a technique to clean stainless steel sinks. Third was a guy in Turkey showing his rugs. Then a dog bringing a leash back to its owner, someone using one of those pop-it distraction things, a guy with his cat in a box in front of a roller coaster video pretending the cat is on the roller coaster.

Eh. I don't see how your anecdote is such strong evidence of the "type of audience they were aiming to attract" (especially when the site seems to overwhelmingly cater to adult women...)

>TikTok doesn't autoplay anything -- it repeats the video you watched. Do you mean you scrolled down?

I click a link in WhatsApp, it opens up Safari in iOS on my phone, it plays the video, then at the end it starts playing another video.

I'm using a content blocker, so I presume TikTok does not know anything about my personal characteristics, so I assumed the videos that autoplay are the ones they autoplay by default.

PS I will forever harbor resentment to people around the world for putting up with video players that lack the ability to skip around the video or even see the length of the video.

Just tried that specific scenario and after the video it showed (silently and muted, in a 1/4 size window) a preview of the "next" video. Unlike imgur, or YouTube, or many other services it doesn't just silently continue. It never goes further.

If someone sent you a link, it will include an identifier of the sender. It usually will say at the top of the screen "[Sender account] is using TikTok! Join now". Logically this informs the suggestions of the app.

The lack of scrubbing is annoying (although apparently the Android version recently added the ability). The app is also inconsistent in that sometimes it shows a progress indicator at the bottom, sometimes it doesn't.

I have the opposite impression. I only like niche content about tools and life hacks, but every time seedy content is pushed back into my feed.

It has gotten worse in the past year.

I am actually surprised people see positives about Tik Tok. IMO it has a much worse societal impact than competition.

It will always happen because as the old saying goes: "sex sells". For some reason, there is a large population on HN that will argue against the fact that tik tok has this content.

> everyone knows

That everyone using tik tok knows. That doesn't invalidate any of the criticism. It just tells you like the content that appeals to everybody.

I _knew_ this would be the reply. For your info, I don't have a TikTok account so try another argument.

So exactly how do you know what TikTok is full of, then?

I have had multiple accounts. I have researched how others use the platform. I have observed the content migrating from one platform to another.

Are you arguing that tik tok is not full of girls in little clothing? Your argument is easily defeated.

Why does this bother you so much.

TikTok will still learn your preferences and adjust what content it shows you even if you don't register.

That is not relevant. I am not complaining about content shown to me personally.

To the "girls dancing" claim, I get approximately zero dancing girl videos. If you demonstrated to the app that such is the content you want, that's what you'll get. I get tonnes of birds, comedy, pets, weird animals, etc.

"On top of that it is designed to be addicting for the sake of addiction."

TikTok doesn't create content. People do. It happens to have content creation tools [the real genius of TikTok that many overlook] that allow a lot of funny, creative people to generate content that they previously couldn't.

Is that "designed to be addictive"? I guess, in the meaningless "it's designed to offer a rewarding experience" way.

EDIT: Some of the complaints in this discussion remind me of this classic Onion story - https://bit.ly/2Qm2w87

> To the "girls dancing" claim, I get approximately zero dancing girl videos. If you demonstrated to the app that such is the content you want, that's what you'll get. I get tonnes of birds, comedy, pets, weird animals, etc.

I am not complaining that I get the wrong recommendations. In fact, I don't have the app. My point is the app is full is seedy content.

It's literally designed to be addictive. If you don't understand that this conversation is over.

You don't use it, yet you are also an authority on what it is "full of". So much so that you're an observer of subreddits dedicated to lascivious TikTok content.

I use Reddit and am blissfully unaware of such subs.

As to "designed to be addictive", you are literally using that as a lazy, pejorative surrogate for "designed to be rewarding/enjoyable".

Understand that almost every part of your life is "designed to be addictive" by that sloppy trope. HN is "designed to be addictive" by putting the most interesting stories on the front page. Netflix, Facebook, Starbucks, McDonalds, Movie Theaters, Parks, Conservation Areas -- Designed to Be Addictive. It is meaningless prattle, though it's usually leveraged to dismiss things Other People enjoy.

I have researched it thoroughly and understand how it works. That goes for other major sites too including facebook, instagram, whatsapp, reddit.

I don't care that you use reddit and are unaware of what content is on it. I could not care less.

The tik tok algorithm is designed to be addictive. It sounds like you agree but are trying to obscure that fact by throwing examples of other popular products.


TikTok pings you every few hours of swiping with a video that tells you to put the phone down and get some fresh air. It's the only social media app I've ever used that does that.

I'm a cynic. I don't rack that up to TikTok's wonderful benevolence, but rather that their revenue curve is optimized for a particular usage pattern.

Instagram does this too fwiw

> Tiktok is full of girls dancing with very little or very tight clothes on for likes and attention.

I started using TikTok recently specifically to improve my smartphone camera technique. I just swiped the dancing girl videos away and now it has stopped showing them to me.

I was impressed by the competence of many of the smartphone photography instructional tutorials. Getting points across in 15 seconds demonstrates how 'flabby' many YouTube tutorials are.

> Tiktok is full of girls dancing with very little or very tight clothes on for likes and attention.

Even if that was true, so what? While the venue changes, that’s what bitter elders always complain about about youth culture, to the point where it being a recognized cliche is ancient.

> On top of that it is designed to be addicting for the sake of addiction.

All of social media (and most of the web, and much offline entertainment) is optimized around engagement, to the same extent. There’s nothing special about TikTok here.

So your argument is that is no worse than other bad things? I won;t even respond to your first question. We're too far apart to make a worthwhile conversation.

> Tiktok is full of girls dancing with very little or very tight clothes on for likes and attention

Said every single person who has never tried TikTok and forms their entire opinion based on things they read on online and a few subreddits dedicated to posting very specific kind of content.

Nope I have researched tik tok thoroughly

It’s definitely a pro-social, social platform. It shows that you don’t have to rely on polarizing or adversarial content to drive engagement (_ cough, like Facebook & Twitter cough)


Remember that the platforms we complain about also started off totally fine, but eventually greed caught up with all of them.

Eh, it still exists. I have gotten in a few cohorts that were quite toxic, especially near the election. There's still quite a lot of vaccine/mask vs anti-vaccine/mask content, and you general political crap. It's easy to get off of those, the dislike button is definitely your friend, but if you don't have the willpower and self-control I do think you can fall into the same rabbit holes as Youtube or any other platform.

TikTok reminds me of mid-2000s Internet vibes. But also, that could be because the algorithm is really good at showing me what I want... and I don't even have an account.

I don't use TikTok myself but I guess you see what you want to see. Kinda hard to make general statements about content on a platform that is built around curating to individual tastes. I would be surprised if people more interested in celebrities and rich people would not be able to get an endless stream of "professional influencer" content on TikTok as well.

This is true for every platform. I always find it strange when people complain their Twitter feed is toxic, when they have quite a lot of control over who's on there or not. Admittedly I use Tweetdeck which is less algorithmic, but still. I think even default twitter lets you block retweets from certain people you follow?

i like this too and think it has a lot to do with how the app is based on the for you page more than followers. when you don’t need followers for people to see your content it really opens up the playing field to different types of content

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