Going viral on social media isn’t as organic as you think — at least not on TikTok.
It was confirmed over the week that TikTok’s U.S. employees could determine what goes “viral” on the social media platform, Forbes confirms. Claims of the ability surfaced with the announcement of the new “heating” feature that can help introduce emerging influencers on the platform.
Jamie Favazza, a spokesperson for TikTok, told Forbes that increasing views to particular videos isn’t the only reason for heating. TikTok will also “promote some videos to help diversify the content experience,” he said.
Favazza also suggests TikTok doesn’t do it that often, claiming only “.002% of videos in For You feeds” are heated. According to an internal document obtained by Forbes, however, heated videos reportedly make up “around 1-2 percent” of “total daily video views.”
Rumors of the ability to boost videos have been circulating for years. Facebook, the parent company of TikTok, allegedly knew it was showing inflated view counts and didn’t fix it right away to help entice advertisers and media companies to its platform.
The report comes as TikTok is facing heavy competition from platforms like YouTube and Instagram. TikTok’s lack of transparency around heating makes it hard to tell which videos got to the top organically.