Showing posts from July, 2020

Guest Post: Homophily in TikTok Recommendations

This is a guest post from @lilweehag . Summary : Earlier this year, Marc Faddoul reported that TikTok’s “recommended profile” feature seemed to recommend demographically similar profiles (e.g a user visiting a profile of a bearded white man would be recommended the profiles of other bearded white men). His results were suggestive but small-scale. I therefore repeated his research on a larger-scale set of 7,285 recommendation pairs, with gender and race classified by a machine learning system. I find that TikTok recommendations are homophilic by gender (p < 1e-43) and race (p < 1e-79). Consistent with TikTok’s stated goal of “elevating black creators,”  I find that profiles containing a picture of a black or African-American person are recommended ~60% more than chance would predict (p < 1e-11). Background  It is well understood that people connect with others who are similar to them. This is sometimes referred to as “the homoph