New feature to refresh TikTok For You feed

Category: Social Media
New feature to refresh TikTok For You feed

TikTok are rolling out a new feature that enables people to refresh their For You feed if their recommendations no longer feel relevant. They are also providing another progress update on their ongoing efforts to guard against repetitive recommendations as they continue to balance goals of enabling self-expression and an enjoyable viewing experience.

The option to start fresh on TikTok

On TikTok, your For You feed helps you discover a diversity of content, creators, communities, and products… But there are times when people’s recommendations don’t feel relevant anymore, or provide enough topical variety. To combat stagnation, TikTok are rolling out a way to refresh For You feed recommendations if they no longer feel like they’re for you. When enabled, this feature allows someone to view content on their For You feed as if they just signed up for TikTok. The recommendation system will then begin to surface more content based on new interactions.

This feature adds to a number of content controls our community already has to shape their experience. For example, people can choose to automatically filter out videos that use specific hashtags or phrases from their For You feeds, and say “not interested” to skip future videos from a particular creator or that use a particular sound.

Good news for retailers

Enabling refresh won’t override any settings users have already chosen to enable or impact accounts they have followed. This means that as a brand or retailer, you won’t lose your audience if they choose to refresh their feed with a fresh start on TikTok.

Safeguarding the viewing experience

TikTok say that they are constantly working to provide an enjoyable viewing experience, and take multiple approaches to help safeguard the platform by:

How TikTok address repetitive patterns

An inherent challenge of any recommendation system is ensuring the breadth of content surfaced to a viewer isn’t too narrow or too repetitive. TIkTok say that they are ‘intently focused on this challenge’, and work to design a system that intersperses a variety of topics. For instance, viewers will generally not be served two videos in a row made by the same creator or that use the same sound, and they try to avoid showing people something they’ve seen before.

In addition, TikTok work to carefully apply limits to some content that doesn’t violate policies, but may impact the viewing experience if viewed repeatedly, particularly when it comes to content with themes of sadness, extreme exercise or dieting, or that’s sexually suggestive.

We understand that people express themselves in all sorts of way on TikTok – including when they’re feeling down or are going through a difficult life experience. We routinely hear from experts that closing the door on this expression can increase feelings of isolation and stigmatization, and that enabling people to see how others cope with difficult emotions can be beneficial, especially for teens. With this in mind, our approach is to remove content that promotes or glorifies self-injury or our other policies, while allowing recovery or educational content, with limits on how often such recovery or educational content is eligible for recommendation.

Our systems do this by looking for repetition among themes like sadness or extreme diets, within a set of videos that are eligible for recommendation. If multiple videos with these themes are identified, they will be substituted with videos about other topics to reduce the frequency of these recommendations and create a more diverse discovery experience. This work is ongoing, and over the last year alone, we’ve implemented over 15 updates to improve these systems, along with expanding to support more languages.

Our trust and safety and product teams partner to drive this work, which is informed by academic literature and consultation with experts, such as the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital. We’ll continue these efforts as we strive to recommend a diversity of content to enable an enriching discovery experience. We are determined to provide both a welcoming space for self-expression and an enjoyable environment for our community.

– TikTok

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