Our research generally focuses on user studies and socio-technical perspectives on TikTok in the following areas:

#Creative Practices

We are interested in better understanding and analyzing users’ motivations behind participating in short-form video creation. For example, we conduct interviews with amateur users to find out about their creative practices when deciding to make videos, the steps they follow in video making, the rationales of posting and sharing videos, their understanding and imagination of potential social media audiences, and their sense of participating in community building through video creation and sharing.

[example:  NCA'20 paper (PDF)]

#Algorithmic Literacy

Social media algorithms are generally invisible mechanisms within socio-technical systems that can influence how we perceive and interact with reality online and offline. We apply mixed-method approaches, for example, conducting interviews with TikTok users and collecting video meta data from TikTok to analyze how users’ assumptions about the algorithm shape their online behavior when they create and share short video content. This includes, for example, looking at how users utilize popular sounds and hashtags for their videos to be picked up by the TikTok algorithm and subsequently go viral.

[example: WebSci’21 paper (PDF)]

#Privacy Perception

TikTok has very long and complex privacy policies that users need to agree to in order to use the app, but more specifically: in order to have best possible experiences when watching short-video content. We are interested in users’ attitudes towards the inevitable trade-off between allowing TikTok to largely access user and phone data versus receiving highly optimized and individually catered video feeds as highly satisfying consumer experiences.

[example:  MUM'21 paper (PDF)]


07/2022 –

in collaboration with 

03/2022 –

funded by