【大学入試に出る時事英語トピック】Science & Technology(科学・技術)

【VOA de 試験に出る時事英語】How TikTok’s Technology Makes the Service Popular <TikTokの技術がサービスを人気にしている理由>

How TikTok’s Technology Makes the Service Popular (voanews.com)

How TikTok’s Technology Makes the Service Popular

A recent American law requires TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, to sell the company’s U.S. operations within nine months or face a nationwide ban.

But the video sharing service remains popular among Americans. It remains unclear if ByteDance will agree to sell the business. It also is not known whether the law can survive expected legal challenges related to freedom of speech.

Here is a look at how TikTok has developed its technology and expanded its business to include more than one billion users worldwide.

ByteDance was launched in China in 2012 by businessman Zhang Yimin. Its first product was a news collection service for Chinese users. In 2016, ByteDance launched a video sharing app called Douyin. The popularity of Douyin led the company to launch a foreign version of that app called TikTok.

ByteDance bought a video sharing service called Musical.ly for $1 billion in November 2017. The company then combined that app with TikTok in August 2018.

Technology experts have widely considered TikTok’s predictive algorithms a main driver of its success. The artificial intelligence (AI)-powered system seeks to identify what new videos users will likely be interested in based on what they have watched before.

TikTok offers users videos of many different interests. These could include users demonstrating dance moves, food preparation videos or personal care advice. Some TikTok users also take part in physical “challenges” that start on the app. Videos can discuss serious subjects like politics or war but could also include humorous performances or information about music or movies.

A recent report by Reuters news agency examined TikTok’s technology and operating methods. It suggests the company’s use of algorithms has played a major part in its success. Industry experts said the app’s algorithm is particularly good at working with the short video format used by the app.

Before TikTok, many industry experts believed the most important element to having a successful social media app was linking a user’s social connections. Such a model was successfully demonstrated by Meta’s Facebook and Instagram services.

But TikTok showed that an algorithm, driven by data from what a user looks for and watches on the service, could be more powerful. Rather than building an algorithm to connect large social groups, TikTok has sought to develop what it calls users’ “interest signals.”

Some TikTok competitors use similar interest-based algorithms. But TikTok has been able to perfect its system because it uses short videos, said Catalina Goanta. She is an associate professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands who studies how social media services make money.

Goanta told Reuters that while the kind of algorithm TikTok uses is common among similar social apps, “what really distinguishes TikTok…is the design and the content,” she noted.

Experts say the short video format permits TikTok’s algorithm to identify in greater detail specific user interests and favorites. This enables the app to predict what kind of content TikTok users will want to see at different times of the day.

Jason Fung is the former head of TikTok’s gaming activities. He told Reuters the app’s short video format permits TikTok to learn what users want to see at a much faster rate.

“You’re able to collect data about a user’s preference a lot faster than YouTube, where maybe the average video is just less than 10 minutes long,” Fung said. “Imagine you’re collecting data about a user on average every 10 minutes versus every couple (of) seconds,” he added.

Industry experts say TikTok’s early entry into the short video market supported its success. Instagram did not launch its short video service Reels until 2020, while YouTube introduced its Shorts service in 2021.

TikTok has also been effective at getting its users to form groups by establishing certain hashtags, said Ari Lightman. He is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. These groups that users form help TikTok learn more details about members’ behaviors, interests and personal beliefs.

Lightman said that if TikTok is banned in the U.S., he thinks it will be difficult for any existing technology company to reproduce the strong user culture that the app has built.













一部のTikTokの競合他社は、同様の興味に基づくアルゴリズムを使用している。しかし、TikTokは短い動画を使用しているため、そのシステムを完璧にすることができたと、オランダのユトレヒト大学で、ソーシャルメディアサービスがどのように収益を上げているかを研究しているCatalina Goanta准教授は述べている。



Jason Fungは、TikTokのゲーム活動の元責任者だ。彼はロイターに対し、appの短い動画フォーマットにより、TikTokはユーザーが何を見たいのかをはるかに速いペースで学習することができると述べた。



TikTokはまた、特定のhashtag(ハッシュタグ)を確立することで、ユーザーがグループを形成するのに効果的だったと、ペンシルベニア州のカーネギーメロン大学のAri Lightman教授は述べている。ユーザーが形成するこれらのグループは、TikTokがメンバーの行動、興味、個人的な信念についてより詳細を学ぶのに役立つ。



・innovation – n. 革新、刷新、イノベーション
・controversial – adj. 物議を醸す、論争を引き起こす
・algorithm – n. アルゴリズム、問題解決の手順
・optimize – v. 最適化する、最良の状態にする
・demographic – n. 人口統計学的な区分(年齢、性別、職業など)
adj. 人口統計学的な
・preference – n. 好み、優先順位、選好
・hashtag – n. ハッシュタグ(SNS上で特定のトピックを示す#付きの単語)
・dilemma – n. ジレンマ、板挟み、進退両難の状況
・implication – n. 含意、暗示、影響、結果
・perspective – n. 視点、見方、展望