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TikTok Looks to Limit Harmful Impacts of Algorithm Amplification with New Tests

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This is an interesting experiment – TikTok has outlined how it’s looking to reduce the potentially harmful impacts of algorithm amplification by limiting the amount of videos in certain, sensitive categories that are highlighted in user ‘For You’ Feeds.

That could reduce polarization, and stop users feeling overwhelmed by some topics.

As explained by TikTok:

We recognize that too much of anything – whether it’s animals, fitness tips, or personal well-being journeys – doesn’t fit with the diverse discovery experience we aim to create. That’s why our recommendation system works to intersperse recommendations that might fall outside people’s expressed preferences, offering an opportunity to discover new categories of content. For example, our systems won’t recommend two videos in a row made by the same creator or with the same sound. Doing so enriches the viewing experience and can help promote exposure to a range of ideas and perspectives on our platform.”

That, in itself, helps to broaden the TikTok experience, and keep things fresh. But now, TikTok’s also looking to expand its system limits to ensure that users are not shown too much content on certain topics.

As we continue to develop new strategies to interrupt repetitive patterns, we’re looking at how our system can better vary the kinds of content that may be recommended in a sequence. That’s why we’re testing ways to avoid recommending a series of similar content – such as around extreme dieting or fitness, sadness, or breakups – to protect against viewing too much of a content category that may be fine as a single video but problematic if viewed in clusters.”

Which is actually a key concern, with algorithms, utilizing binary qualifiers, working to show you more of what you engage with, without the context of why you might be viewing or otherwise interacting with certain clips.

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If you’re in a vulnerable state and you end up watching more videos related to similar concerns, that could indicate to an algorithmic system that you’re interested in more of that content – when really, routing more of that material to you, at that time, could actually cause more harm, which a machine learning system can’t understand, without additional guidance.

It’s a smart exploration by TikTok – and while it won’t necessarily be able to catch all possible instances of potential harm in this respect, if it can limit the impacts of some of the worst elements, that could be significant.

In addition to this, TikTok’s also developing a new option that would enable people to choose disqualifying words or hashtags, associated with content that they don’t want to see in their ‘For You’ feed, to reduce instances of unwanted exposure, based on personal preference.

That could be diet videos, make-up tutorials – whatever issue you find triggering, you would be able to reduce, and maybe even eliminate from your feed entirely, lessening the potential impacts of such in your experience.

Given its popularity among younger users, this is a critical element of focus for TikTok, with the platform already under significant scrutiny over the impact that its trends and content can have on young, impressionable users, in varying ways.

Giving people more capacity to control their ‘For You’ recommendations could be a big step – but even further, enhancing its automated recommendations around potentially sensitive topics could be even more valuable, as not everyone has the self-awareness to be able to moderate their own experience in this way.

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Considering its rapid growth, TikTok has done fairly well in providing algorithmic protections thus far, and its addictive algorithm, and capacity to pull from a huge pool of publicly uploaded clips, really is the app’s secret sauce, and the reason for its massive success.

With that in mind, intelligent explorations like this are key to keeping users as safe from harm as possible, and TikTok, which doesn’t rely on personal connections in the same way as other social apps, has more capacity for such, which is a key element.

Socialmediatoday.com

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TikTok’s Working on a New, Opt-In Function to Show You Who Viewed Your Profile

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TikTok's Working on a New, Opt-In Function to Show You Who Viewed Your Profile


I’m not entirely sure what value this might bring, but TikTok is reportedly working on bringing back the option to see who viewed your profile in the app over the preceding 30 days, which would provide more transparency over user interest.

As you can see in these screenshots, uncovered by app researcher Kev Adriano (and shared by Matt Navarra), TikTok looks to be testing an opt-in functionality that would enable you to see who’s checking out your TikTok profile, while users would also be able to see when you’ve checked out their profile as well when this feature is switched on.

Which TikTok used to have, as a means to increase connections in the app.

TikTok profile views notification

As you can see here, TikTok used to provide a listing of people who’d checked out your profile, with a view to helping you find others to follow who may have similar, shared interests. TikTok removed the functionality early last year, amid various investigations into its data sharing processes, and with several high-profile cases of TikTok stalkers causing real-world problems for platform stars, it made sense that it might not want to share this information anymore, as it likely only increases anxiety for those who may have concerns.

But I guess, if stalkers wanted to check out your profile they wouldn’t turn the feature on, so maybe, by making it opt-in, that reduces that element? Maybe.

I don’t know, I don’t see a heap of value here, and while I can understand, when an app is starting out, how this sort of awareness might help to increase network connections, I’m not sure that it serves any real value for TikTok, other than providing insight into who’s poking around, and likely increasing concerns about certain people who keep coming back to check out your profile again and again.

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Maybe there’s a value for aspiring influencers, in reaching out to potential collaborators who’ve checked out their stuff, or maybe it works for hook-ups, if that’s what you want to use TikTok for, which is why the opt-in element is important.

But much like the same feature on LinkedIn, mostly, it seems pretty useless. I mean, it’s somewhat interesting to know that somebody from a company that you’d like to work for checked out your profile, but if they did, and they didn’t feel compelled to get in touch, who really cares?

There is a limited value proposition here, in that getting in touch with those who did check out your profile could result in a business relationship, similar to the above note on potential collaborators on TikTok. But I’d be interested to see the actual percentage of successful contacts made is as a result of these insights.

I can’t imagine it’s very high – but maybe, if you give users the choice, and they explicitly opt-in, there is some value there.

Seems like stalker tracking to me, and potential angst and conflict as a result.

There’s no official word from TikTok as to whether this option will ever be released at this stage.





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‘Flurona’ is a great example of how misinformation can circulate

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'Flurona' is a great example of how misinformation can circulate


This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. Image captured and colorized at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana.
Source – NIAID, CC SA 2.0.

In early January, Israel confirmed its first case of an individual infected with both the seasonal flu and COVID-19 at the same time, authorities reported. The two infections were found in an unvaccinated pregnant woman who had mild symptoms.

At the rime, the Times of Israel said, “Some reports suggested this marked the first such dual case in the world, but reports of patients with both flu and COVID-19 surfaced in the US as early as spring 2020.”

And it was the Times of Israel that helped the story to go viral by using a catchy, made-up name – “flurona” – and reporting that this is the “first” such case in the country, which some people read as the first case ever.

One news outlet went about amplifying the anecdotal report into “a new nightmare to keep us awake at night.” All the hype over this supposedly new and nightmarish disease did nothing more than fuel the amount of misinformation already bogging down social media platforms.

Scientific American suggests that physicians and scientists just don’t seem to be able to get the right message across to the public about what is real, what is treatable, and what is downright false.

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Yes, you can catch the flu and Covid

Let’s look back a bit to the start of the pandemic. In March 2020, hospitals were being overrun with patients. At that time, COVID testing was still rather sluggish and expensive. So doctors often ordered several tests for patients, trying to identify — or eliminate from suspicion — other possible infections.   

And yes, any number of patients were found to have not only COVID-19 but nearly 5 percent of patients tested had another viral respiratory infection, too. At first, doctors worried more for these patients, whose immune systems were fighting two battles at once. 

“What we found was actually that patients who had Covid plus another infection — they had lower rates of inflammation in their body and were less likely to be admitted to the hospital,” said Dr. Sarah Baron, a physician who helped author a study in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy to describe the findings.

While the study was small in the number of patients involved, it may offer an intriguing look at how one virus suppresses the effects of another – something called viral interference.

Researchers have known about viral interference since the 1960s when a group of scientists noticed that a live vaccine against polio and other enteroviruses also seemed to protect against unrelated viral respiratory diseases like influenza.  

For the week ending December 25, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 6.2 percent of people tested for flu were positive, and 1,825 people were admitted to U.S. hospitals with flu that week.

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So I would suggest to everyone that first – remember there are many reliable news sources on the Internet. Secondly, if a story you read sounds outrageous, take a few minutes to research it. You may just find out how inaccurate it may be.



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12 Helpful SEO Tools for Your Brand in 2022 [Infographic]

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12 Helpful SEO Tools for Your Brand in 2022 [Infographic]


Search engine optimization can be a complicated process, but every year, more tools and options are added to help simplify and streamline your efforts, which can provide you with valuable insights and guidance that hasn’t previously been available so easily.

The right tools can transform your strategy, and as such, it’s worth keeping track of the latest tool additions as you look to learn more about what people are searching for, and how you can create content and offers to align with those behaviors.

Which is where this new listing from PageTraffic comes in. The below infographic outlines 12 newer SEO tools that are worth a look in 2022.

More insight is always better, and these apps may just become a key pipeline to better understanding for your business.



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