Has it ever happened to you that you’re thinking about a song and TikTok sends you recommendations for it? Did it give you chills? Well, this has happened with almost every TikTok user and so many were forced to believe that TikTok reads their mind. If so, how TikTok reads your mind?

Launched back in 2016, TikTok is a content creation platform that enables users to create short videos ranging from 5 to 10 seconds. With that, users no longer need to use other video creation tools as TikTok offers all the features from audio tracks to background music and visual effects.

The best but scary thing about this app is that it knows its users’ interest and show them recommendations as per their preferences. This has compelled so many users to believe that TikTok reads their minds. If you too, have any of such concerns, worry no more! We are here to take a deeper look at this app to check if it REALLY reads our minds.

Does TikTok read its users’ minds?

If you ask for a one-word answer, then NO! TikTok doesn’t read your mind. Now you may calm yourself.

TikTok has an extremely efficient algorithm that shows you recommendations based on what you have recently liked or viewed. Those videos typically appear in the ‘For You’ section of the app. This has led to speculations about the app that it reads its users’ minds which is not true of course.

Like other social media platforms, TikTok generates money through advertising. What stands out about this app is its extremely high efficiency in collecting user data. It tracks even your tiniest actions on the platform to learn more about you every day. And that’s what helps the app generate unique data for every user and make money.

Why did ‘TikTok reads your mind’ get hype?

Last year, New York Times revealed that an anonymous employee from the company disclosed something ‘fishy’ about the company. According to the source, the app uses an algorithm that helps generate more traffic and boost engagement, enabling TikTokers to make more money.

This is one of the reasons why some TikTok are so addictive and went viral. That said, the ‘false field’ news was not paid heed to by the experts because they know how the app’s algorithm works and how efficiently it takes notes of metrics.

How does TikTok algorithm work?

TikTok’s recommendation system is entirely based on its algorithm. It helps the app determine which video to recommend to which user. Hence, every user’s ‘For You’ feed is different.

As mentioned earlier, the recommendations you get on TikTok are mainly based on your recent watch history, your account, your device, and the content you have liked shared, and commented on. Apart from that, it also notes your liked videos’ captions and hashtags.

TikTok leverages AI tools to learn user behavior on the app, including what makes them like and tick a particular video on the app. Like other social media apps, the ultimate goal of TikTok is to engage its users on the app as long as possible by showing you relevant content. The longer you watch videos; the more data the app will collect. “Every time you use the platform, the algorithm is updated with new data so it can understand you more precisely,” said ESET’s cybersecurity specialist, Jack Moore.

With the help of its algorithm, TikTok knows what’s your religious inclination, what music you listen to and what politics you support. In fact, it knows when you are feeling down and what content to show you during that time. If the moderators did not control the algorithm, it would have taken you to consume potentially damaging content, causing you bigger problems outside the app.

How TikTok leverages data to target advertising?

How TikTok leverages user data to promote videos
ShutterStock Licensed Image

The best thing about TikTok is that advertisers can track the performance of their ads on it. Its advertising platform hosts biddable and native ads as well as custom audiences.

Via the custom audience feature, the advertisers can target their ads on the basis of demographics and location. Apart from that, it has In-feed, also known as short video ads that mix with the users’ feed. Due to its increasing popularity, ByteDance has launched native ads, enabling businesses to track TikTok users’ data for more relevant ads.

This helped the app better understand the audience based on their likes and dislikes. In fact, it is predicted that TikTok will outstrip Facebook, the most used social media platform.

How TikTok leverages user data to promote videos?

 Have you ever thought about how a video goes viral on TikTok? It’s because of the way it uses users’ data and shows them relevant information. For instance, if you create an account on TikTok, create a video and use its Promote feature to promote your video on the platform.

The app will show your video in the form of a video ad to the audience who watches similar videos as yours. Since TikTok has its users’ watch data, it knows which video to show to which user, bringing more engagement and boosting traffic to your content.

Moreover, the promotion feature provides all the details like the number of views, likes, shares and comments to the creator and even tells how many people stopped watching your video.

You can tell this feature’s effectiveness by the fact that it even tells the creator the gender of the audience that interacted with your videos.

In a nutshell, you can say that TikTok can track views, likes, comments and shares a person has received on their videos even without using the promote feature. However, you will need that feature to gain in-depth insights.

A TikTok user can find out which videos are trending on the platform and what measures you can take to increase the potency of your marketing campaigns.

Features that make you think ‘TikTok reads your mind’

The fact that you see the content you were just thinking about makes you think TikTok is reading your mind. Whatever you see on the app is based on your past data, through which the app determines what you may like in the future.

 Below we have listed some specific features of TikTok that make you think that the app is reading your mind.

  1. Users’ Activity:

User activity on TikTok helps the app’s algorithm work flawlessly. When you browse through your feed on TikTok, it’s not just browsing for TikTok, it’s data collection time for the app. It collects all the information, which video you like, share, comment and re-watch. It even notes down the length of time you have watched a video.

TikTok’s algorithms are not ordinary. They are deep-seated equations that constantly work to collect user data. It has a unique custom FYP for each TikTok user.\

Locations & Language

Location and language are crucial to learning about the audience’s preferences. How it helps TikTok? Most videos on TikTok are in English. When non-English speakers watch TikTok in the same language, they get recommendations for videos that are similar to those they like but are in their local language. What does this translate to? It means TikTok’s algorithms are extremely strong in their functionality.


What shocks us the most is the fact that TikTok doesn’t recommend reels only, it displays all the trending audios on the platform. That’s one of the reasons why you see several users making videos on the same song. The app leverages the trending songs, show you reels on the same songs and makes videos go viral.

How to go Viral on TikTok?

In order to make your video go viral on TikTok, you must know the basics of the factors that help rank a video. Firstly, you need to come up with a good caption for your video. Secondly, you need to pick a trending song/audio for the video so that it reaches a bigger chunk of the audience. Lastly, you need to be specific about the hashtags and specifics as they play a crucial role in ranking your video.

If you have well-managed all of that, your chances will increase to go viral and gain more visibility on the platform.

Conclusion – How TikTok reads your mind?

By now you must be convinced that TikTok doesn’t read anyone’s mind. It’s the users that provide fodder to the algorithm to show relevant content. TikTok’s algorithms are so far the smartest we have ever seen. Although Facebook and Instagram also leverage data to show relevant content, TikTok algorithms measure even the tiniest increments of attention. If you have privacy concerns about the app, you may set your account’s settings to private. Doing so will only enable a limited audience (only your followers) to see your content. It may not stop the app from collecting your data, but you will be safe from external predators.

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