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Engineered earworms on TikTok aren’t that far off from disinfo campaigns

Tech Crunch 23 Apr 2021 06:06

Ever since I read this Bloomberg story about how songs are engineered to go viral on TikTok, I’ve had one thought in my head, if you can call it that — it’s more of a noise, or impression: 

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Yes, it’s the sound of internally screaming. Just when I thought I understood how deeply social media algorithms have hijacked our desires, tastes and preferences — WHAM! Another jab straight to the nose. I have to admit, I was blindsided by this one. It knocked me out.

Now, I understand that I work for a website called TechCrunch, emphasis on the tech, but if this story doesn’t make you feel at least a teensy bit like a Luddite, well, I don’t know what to tell you. You’re probably like that character in the Matrix, Cypher, who wants to be plugged in.

Is that harsh? I mean, companies are going to company, and partnerships with major record labels is a common sense move for a social media app all about honing the art of short, clever combinations of sound and video. And fair dues to the creators, many of them in college or high school, for jumping at the chance to make some money and get a little bit of fame.

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BloombergCypherByteDanceTikTokUS
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