TikTok’s roundup of the biggest moments of 2022 is here — there’s a giant chocolate giraffe, musician Rosalía chewing gum, and a viral remix of Tariq, aka “Corn Kid.” But one thing stands out: the view count on TikTok’s top clips is a lot smaller than in years past.
The videos in TikTok’s FYFaves list all have millions of views and are supposed to represent the most viral content on the app. The list is curated, though, and leaves out other videos with high views and engagement, so it isn’t 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 on the No. 1 spot have been trending downward.
In the top spot for US users this year is a video of a pastry chef slowly constructing an enormous giraffe statue made out of chocolate, with gentle piano music playing over the clip. It’s been viewed more than 308 million times. Compare that to the video in the top spot 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 watched more than half a billion times.
The one recurring appearance is by @chipmunksoftiktok, which claimed the No. 2 spot this year and last year.
The declining view count of the top video doesn’t necessarily mean that fewer people are watching TikTok. All of the videos on the top 10 list had tens or hundreds of millions of views, and many videos uploaded to TikTok notched similarly high view counts but didn’t make the list.
What’s omitted from TikTok’s top videos list is equally as interesting as what made the cut. For example, Khaby Lame, who became the most-followed TikToker earlier this year, is nowhere in the report. TikTok didn’t provide data about how top videos are selected — for example, what bumps one clip with 100 million views over another or how “trending” is measured.
Here’s the full list of TikTok’s “most memorable moments” of 2022. Looking through it, the chocolate maker caught me off guard — I’ve never seen the video or even heard of this creator, a testament to the siloed nature of TikTok and the hyper-tailored feed each algorithm spits out. Some of the other clips, like the low-energy “Jiggle Jiggle” video, use an inescapably viral sound but have never appeared on my FYP. The version of TikTok we each use is so different that it feels almost counterproductive to try to make a best-of list that represents the app as a whole.
How many of these have you ever heard of?