Why Does TikTok Think I’m an Ex-Mormon?

The app’s algorithm seems to know us better than we know ourselves, until it doesn’t.

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Episode Notes

On today’s episode, Madison and Rachelle examine a case of mistaken identity. One of TikTok’s best features is its algorithm, which specializes in surfacing videos seemingly tailor-made for the user. That is, until the algorithm gets an idea about the user that’s very, very wrong. They discuss why TikTok is convinced Madison is an ex-Mormon and Rachelle is a Marvel fanatic, and then field a number of listener voicemails about all the hilarious and sometimes alarming ways TikTok has gotten them wrong, too.

Podcast production by Daniel Schroeder and Derek John.


About the Show

Join Madison Malone Kircher and Rachelle Hampton twice a week as they gaze deep into the online abyss—and tell you what’s gazing back. All episodes


  • Rachelle Hampton is a culture writer and reporter at Slate. Her work has appeared in the New Republic, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian Magazine, and In These Times. She still hasn't recovered from Tumblr's demise.

  • Madison Malone Kircher is a senior writer at Slate. She was previously a staff writer at New York magazine, where she covered internet culture and edited New York’s Approval Matrix. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Vulture, and the Cut. Madison lives in Brooklyn, where she regularly drops her phone on her face watching TikToks in bed.