The Brief: After months of testing a timestamp feature, TikTok removed its timestamp, hiding records of when videos were posted to the app.
Although TikTok hasn’t made any official announcements as of yet, TikTok appears to have removed timestamps from the apps of users in the U.S.
The formula of what goes viral on TikTok and how is a tough code to crack. This is further exacerbated by the app’s incomplete records of when a video was posted. Since October, TikTok has been testing a timestamp on videos, showing viewers when videos were uploaded, but this feature appears to have been removed by January 6, 2020.
At the center of TikTok’s virality is the For You page, which is based on an undisclosed algorithm. While some social media platforms feed users content semi-chronologically, TikTok’s For You page appears to select content based on what a user has previously watched and liked. The temporary timestamp feature may have provided clues as to how trends spread and what is popular at which times, data that could be valuable to creators, advertisers, and curious viewers.
The lack of visible dates and times within the app contributes to the mystery of the inner workings of TikTok and may conceal when trends are being manufactured. Timestamps remain on comments on TikTok videos, but they are not necessarily displayed in chronological order.
At the time of writing, TikTok has not publicly disclosed whether or not the removal of its timestamp is a permanent measure.