The Rise of the Algorithms: How YouTube and TikTok Conquered the World Front Cover

The Rise of the Algorithms: How YouTube and TikTok Conquered the World


The meteoric rise of online video is reshaping the competition for human attention. The Rise of the Algorithms argues that this new technology has changed the way we interact with others, our relationships with public institutions, and our very own behaviors and psyches.

In tracing the origins and evolution of online video, John M. Jordan examines the mechanics―and the ethical stakes―of online video platforms, especially YouTube and TikTok but also others, such as Twitch. Tracing the use of algorithms pioneered by Facebook and Google and so successfully exploited by TikTok’s corporate parent, ByteDance, Jordan shows how these platforms now engineer human behavior―with consequences for culture, politics, and identity. Jordan argues that we are at an inflection point. Until now we have proved, as a society, ill-prepared or unwilling to address such problems as the power of digital platforms, the personal cost of viral celebrity, the invasion of privacy, and the proliferation of disinformation. The Rise of the Algorithms combines this urgent assessment with a clear-eyed discussion of present challenges and recommendations for reclaiming our online futures.

A valuable resource for understanding the transformations that have been and will be brought by YouTube, TikTok, and similar platforms, Jordan’s timely book is a vital work for anyone who uses the internet and especially for policy makers, technologists, communication and media specialists, and researchers who have a direct hand in determining the future of our online world.

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