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[HCC Seminar Series]: The fortune-telling business, recommendation algorithms of Douyin and TikTok - 5 April 2023

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Although Douyin and TikTok thrive in different environments, they share a common property that enables or even guarantees their widespread popularity. As the secret weapon that makes ByteDance the most valuable start-up in the world, algorithmic optimisation is still the company’s mission. Algorithms, segregated or combined, serve as a cornerstone of the company and its services. To some extent, these platforms are regarded as algorithm-based online video services that offer personalisation and entertainment. They demonstrate higher profitability than streaming or the traditional screen sector and showcase the possibilities of AI power and the ambitions in e-commerce. This chapter unveils ‘the skeletons in the cupboard’ and unpacks the assumptions, the understandings, the potentials and the pitfalls of algorithms to reveal the present discourses on the subject that extend to borderline practices, algorithmic regulation and the future of the algorithmic entertainment media. 



Dr Chunmeizi Su is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, Discipline of Media and Communications. Her research interests are mainly focused on platform studies, Chinese telecommunication companies (ByteDance, Alibaba and Tencent), screen industry studies, and cultural soft power. Her publications include book chapters, reports, as well as journal articles. She has published in prestigious outlets, including but not limited to Media, Culture and Society (2023), Global Media and China (2023), and Television and New Media (2022). Her most recent book with Routledge is on ‘Douyin, TikTok and China’s Online Screen Industry: The Rise of Short Video Platforms’ (in press, 2023).

How to join

For external visitors, please email Alfie Abdul-Rahman to arrange access.
Location: Bush House Centre Block, (S)5.01

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