Researchers try to crack TikTok virality

It can seem nearly impossible to figure out how certain trends and dances go viral on TikTok.

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Researchers try to crack TikTok virality


The Future. It can seem nearly impossible to figure out how certain trends and dances go viral on TikTok. That didn’t stop researchers from taking their best shot. A new research paper has developed a machine-learning model that can predict hashtag virality at a 49% accuracy level. We can’t wait to see what happens when creators get their hands on this.

TikTok 101
We’re one step closer to figuring out what makes TikToks go viral.

  • Researchers from institutions including Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell, and more analyzed data from 12 TikTok trends, like #renegadechallenge and #Boredinthehouse.
  • By monitoring the videos and sorting out different patterns and features, the researchers investigated what characteristics make a TikTok catch fire.

According to their findings, challenges that are more likely to reach the virality tipping point should (1) appeal to a broad audience and (2) motivate users that usually wouldn’t post to participate.

Tok for world peace
While gathering data, the researchers noticed that many challenges and trends only go viral within a specific belief group, within silos. Another phenomenon, challenges might even go ‘echo-viral,’ where a group that believes the opposite will stitch or duet TikToks to express their opposing views.

Up next, researcher Roy Ka-Wei Lee wonders if certain viral challenges might break through those belief silos: “Is their mastery of virality helping them to cross invisible political barriers that their parents never could?”

Melody Song

Melody is a Bay Area-based writer exploring mental health innovation, psychedelics, and consciousness. When she’s not working with words, you can find her practicing yoga, soaking in the CA sun with a good book, or traveling somewhere tropical.


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