Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok is totally stripped of information like when a video was uploaded or the date a user opened their account. The app presents an endless stream of algorithmically chosen videos, which you swipe through vertically. But there’s no way to discern when any of them were posted. Tap on a user’s profile and their videos will appear in reverse chronological order, but they only display view counts. Sites like Facebook and Twitter prioritize recently uploaded content. But TikTok, named after the sound a clock makes, has no time for time itself—a decision that ripples across the entire platform.
Louise Matsakis discusses the way that TikTok is designed to be timeless with a never ending algorithm.