TikTok’s rundown of the biggest moments of 2022 is here — there’s a giant chocolate giraffe, gum-chewing musician Rosalía, and a viral remix of Tariq, aka “Corn Kid.” But one thing stands out: the number of views on TikTok’s top clips is a lot smaller than in recent years.
The videos in TikTok’s FYFaves list all have millions of views and should represent the most viral content on the app. However, the list is curated and omits other videos with high views and engagement, so it’s not a direct representation of the top performing clips on the platform this year.
Still, the list offers some insight into what’s been successful on TikTok, and over the past three years, views have plummeted to the No. 1 spot.
Taking first place for US users this year is a video of a confectioner slowly building a huge giraffe statue made of chocolate, with soft piano music playing over the clip. It has been viewed more than 308 million times. Compare that to the video that took first place last year, a dancing video shot with a drone, which had 314 million views when the 2021 report was published. And both pale in comparison to the top video of 2020: TikTok star Bella Poarch lip-syncing “M to the B.” At the time, it had been viewed more than half a billion times.
The only recurring appearance is from @chipmunksoftiktok, who claimed the #2 spot this year and last year.
The falling view count of the top video doesn’t necessarily mean fewer people are watching TikTok. All videos on the top 10 list had tens or hundreds of millions of views, and many videos uploaded to TikTok achieved similarly high views but failed to make the list.
What’s been left out of TikTok’s list of top videos is just as interesting as what made the cut. For example, Khaby Lame, who became the most followed TikToker earlier this year, does not appear anywhere in the report. TikTok has not provided data on how top videos are selected, such as what ranks one clip above another with 100 million views or how “trending” is measured.
Here’s the full list of TikTok’s “Most Memorable Moments” of 2022. Looking through it, the chocolate maker surprised me – I’ve never seen the video or even heard of this creator, a testament to TikTok’s isolated nature and the hyper-tailored feed each algorithm spits out. Some of the other clips, like the low-energy “Jiggle Jiggle” video, use an unavoidably viral sound, but never showed up on my FYP. The version of TikTok we all use is so different that it almost feels counterproductive to try and create a best-of list that represents the app as a whole.
How many of these have you ever heard of?