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Tiktok just sealed their victory in the social space. Everyone’s been bullish for a while, but woah they started testing something that’s going to catapult them to the next level

Tiktok is PREBUILDING social graphs using data from their wildly detailed link click tracking

There’s one problem every new social app struggles with when growing: the switching cost of rebuilding social graphs is really really high.

This isn’t true for broadcast social apps, but nearly always for IRL friend apps (except cases like YOLO builton other graphs)

Here’s the example: New user downloads your app. Your app is best used with IRL friends. You have to convince the new user that your app is so good that they need to not just invite their friends, but push their friends to join.

It takes a lot of activation energy for new user to get their friend to download the new app, because everyone’s subconscious has this same aversion. We’ve been spammed by invites to social apps too many times at this point.

- As a founder who built a stupid amount of social apps, I have plenty of PTSD from this problem.

- A few months ago, this article got big on tech twitter as people started to understand how detailed their data is.


Tiktok lets the content speak for itself, it begs to be shared. This is great.

Here’s how it works:
Friend A has an account & shares tiktok link to Friend B who doesn’t have an account. But because Tiktok knows deviceID from link clicks they can continue to track Friend B

Friend C has an account.

Friend B, who still doesn’t have an account, opens a link sent to them by Friend C.

Thus, Tiktok can assume Friends A, B, and C know each other IRL.


Crazy, though is, this keeps growing:

Friend D sends a link to Friend C. Tiktok then assumes Friend A knows Friend D.

Tiktok serves Friend D’s content in Friend A’s personalized/algorithmic feed, based on weights of these edges.

The only confirmation I have of this is anecdotal. I have seen videos on my feed from the most random people from my past that I haven’t talked to in a while. I can pretty clearly trace the present day nodes of separation.

Tiktok is making a play to not just be a broadcast social app, but also IRL friends social app, and they’re going to just will it into existence without activation energy from users. It’s amazing.

Scoop via @madeleinewinges :) not sure if this has been found before, but it blew my mind.

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