TikTok, the popular social media platform for short-form videos, has confirmed that its employees have the ability to manually push out videos to ensure they go viral. The secret button, known as “Heating,” has been the source of controversy and speculation for some time.
As per a recent investigation conducted by Forbes, employees of TikTok and ByteDance regularly engage in “heating” which is a manual push that ensures certain videos reach a set number of views. This practice has been confirmed by six sources and documents reviewed by Forbes.
Forbes reviewed another document titled the TikTok Heating Policy, which instructed employees to use a button for various purposes such as attracting influencers and promoting diverse content. The policy also suggested pushing important information and promoting relevant videos that were missed by the recommendation algorithms. These loose guidelines have raised questions about TikTok’s self-proclaimed “magic” algorithm, which has been widely praised for its fairness and ability to cut through Instagram’s oversaturation.
TikTok spokesperson Jamie Favazza informed Forbes that the platform promotes certain videos in order to diversify content experiences and introduce celebrities and emerging creators. This was reportedly in response to a set of questions regarding how content is approved for promotion within the US. According to Favazza, only a few people based in the US have authority over what appears on For You feeds, with such promoted videos making up approximately .002 percent of all videos seen by users.