TV24 Desk: Popular short-video platform TikTok has announced a new feature that allows users to refresh their For You feed if they feel their recommendations are no longer relevant. This new feature is part of TikTok’s ongoing efforts to ensure an enjoyable viewing experience for its users while enabling self-expression.
The For You feed feature helps TikTok users discover diverse content, creators, communities, and products. However, there are times when people’s recommendations don’t feel relevant anymore, or provide enough variety. To address this, TikTok is rolling out a way for users to refresh their For You feed recommendations, which allows them to view content as if they just signed up for TikTok. The recommendation system will then surface more content based on new interactions.
This feature adds to several content controls that TikTok users already have to shape their experience, including the ability to filter out videos that use specific hashtags or phrases from their For You Feed and skip future videos from a particular creator or that use a specific sound. Enabling the refresh feature won’t override any settings users have already chosen to enable or impact accounts they’ve followed.
TikTok is diligently working to provide an enjoyable viewing experience and takes multiple approaches to help safeguard its platform. For instance, TikTok removes content that breaks its rules, makes inappropriate content ineligible for recommendation into For You feeds, minimizes recommendations of topics that could have a negative impact if viewed repeatedly, and filters out content with complex or mature themes from teen accounts.
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 is intently focused on this challenge and works to design a system that intersperses a variety of topics. The system generally won’t serve two videos in a row made by the same creator or that use the same sound, and TikTok tries to avoid showing people something they’ve seen before.
TikTok understands that people express themselves in all sorts of ways on the platform – including when they’re feeling down or are going through a difficult life experience. With this in mind, TikTok’s approach is to remove content that promotes or glorifies self-injury or other policies, while allowing recovery or educational content, with limits on how often such recovery or educational content is eligible for a recommendation.
Over the last year, TikTok has implemented over 15 updates to improve its systems, along with expanding to support more languages. Its 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.