philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


On TikTok, There Is No Time

Culture_tiktok_521282866The popular app doesn’t tell users when a video was posted. Creators say that makes it easier to steal content—but there are also upsides to forgetting what day it is.

TikTok's time-free status also has more mundane but still annoying repercussions. Katie Swanson, a Wisconsin mom better known as @coupon_katie, has amassed over 600,000 followers on the platform showing off her insanely advanced couponing skills. When she finds a good deal, Swanson often enthusiastically tells her fansto run to the store before it expires. But they have no way of knowing when that is, since viewers can’t tell when Swanson posted. “A lot of my videos are time-sensitive, so if they see one of my videos too late, they might not know if they missed out on a deal or not,” says Swanson, who has recently begun including the date in her captions. “I do like that my older content can always still be viewed, but a time stamp would be great.”

TikTok has taken that strategy to its logical extreme, which helps to explain not only its success but also some of its problems. The platform ultimately hopes that you not only stop caring when a video was posted, but perhaps forget what day it is entirely while scrolling through them.

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