TikTokSource: iMore

What you need to know

  • TikTok is aware that its algorithm can sometimes send people down unwanted rabbit holes.
  • Changes to the For You page algorithm should prevent users from seeing the same kinds of content too often.

Video social network TikTok says that it is going to make changes to the way its algorithm works in an attempt to keep the For You feeds fresh. The move will ensure that people don't find themselves watching the same kinds of content repeatedly, something that TikTok has become known for.

While that TikTok behavior has been seen as a positive in the pat because of the way it displays content you're likely to enjoy, it can also be negative with devastating results. And while Tik Tok said in an announcement post that the algorithm works in a way people enjoy, it does have downsides.

However, certain kinds of videos can sometimes inadvertently reinforce a negative personal experience for some viewers, like if someone who's recently ended a relationship comes across a breakup video. We want to share more about some of the work underway to address this and improve the experience for viewers on TikTok.

TikTok goes on to say that it is making changes to try to avoid sending people down unwanted rabbit holes.

As we continue to develop new strategies to interrupt repetitive patterns, we're looking at how our system can better vary the kinds of content that may be recommended in a sequence. That's why we're testing ways to avoid recommending a series of similar content – such as around extreme dieting or fitness, sadness, or breakups – to protect against viewing too much of a content category that may be fine as a single video but problematic if viewed in clusters.

We're also working to recognize if our system may inadvertently be recommending only very limited types of content that, though not violative of our policies, could have a negative effect if that's the majority of what someone watches, such as content about loneliness or weight loss. Our goal is for each person's For You feed to feature a breadth of content, creators, and topics.

TikTok and other social networks have come under fire of late due to the way they can impact mental health, something that this change is clearly designed to help with. We'll have to see exactly how things change as the new algorithm gets to work.