Learning to like TikTok . . . and not: Algorithm awareness as process




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Siles González, Ignacio
Valerio Alfaro, Luciana
Meléndez Moran, Ariana

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This article analyzes algorithm awareness as a process—a series of activities intended to reach a goal over time. It examines how a group of Costa Ricans understood, felt about, and related to TikTok and its algorithms as they began using the app for the first time. Data come from diary entries completed by 43 participants about their use of TikTok over a month and seven focus groups with these diarists. The article discusses five activities through which users expressed developing forms of awareness of TikTok’s algorithms and enacted various rhythms in the experience of the app: managing expectations about what TikTok is and how it works; “training” the app; experiencing a sense of algorithmic personalization; dealing with oscillations in the pertinence of recommendations; and showing various forms of rejection of TikTok. The article then considers some implications of bringing time to the fore in the study of algorithm awareness.


Palabras clave

Algorithms, Awareness, Diaries, Folk theories, Latin America, PERSONALIZATION, PROCESS, Rhythm, Temporality, TikTok