TikTok now lets you start afresh with your For You feed
It's also updating its ability to reduce repetitive patterns of content that could be harmful to you.
Back in February, TikTok revealed that it was testing a feature that will give you a way to reset the recommendations that pop up on your For You page. Now, the ByteDance-owned app is rolling out this "refresh" option to all users, so you can get rid of video recommendations that no longer feel relevant. If you enable it, the For You feed will look as if you've only just signed up for an account, and TikTok's algorithm will start surfacing content based on your newer interactions on the app.
To give your feed a reset, head over to TikTok's Settings and Privacy menu, then scroll down until you find Content preferences. There, you'll find a new option that says "Refresh your For You feed." Take note that it's all what the new feature does — it won't change any of your settings or unfollow accounts you've previously followed.
In addition to the new "refresh" feature, TikTok has also updated its efforts to reduce repetitive patterns of content that could be harmful. The app has been doing this for quite some time and has been applying limits to videos that don't exactly violate its policies but might have an effect on your viewing experience. Examples include videos that feature sadness or extreme dieting and exercise. Now, if its systems detect a repetition in those types of themes within a set of videos, it actively substitutes some of them with videos about a different topic. That way, it can further limit your exposure to content that could contain certain triggers.
These are but the latest updates TikTok has rolled out in a bid to improve its algorithm, which has been the subject of investigations and has been at the center of discussions on whether the app should be banned. TikTok's critics even call its user experience (as enabled by its algorithm) manipulative, designed to keep you glued to the app.
It's no secret that the service has been under intense scrutiny over the past few years, so it also doesn't come as a surprise that TikTok has been making an effort to demystify its algorithm and give you more control over the content you see. They will certainly give TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew more positive talking points when he tries to make authorities see the app in a positive light on March 23rd. Chew will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that day and is expected to discuss the app's privacy and data security, as well as its impact on kids and ties to China.