TikTok has announced a new feature that enables users to refresh their ‘For You’ feed when they feel that their recommendations are no longer relevant.
The short-video platform’s For You feed is designed to help users discover a range of content, creators, communities, and products. However, at times, recommendations may not provide enough variety or feel relevant.The new feature allows users to view content as if they just signed up for TikTok and will surface more content based on new interactions. The refresh feature adds to a range of content controls that TikTok users already have to shape their experience, including filtering out videos that use specific hashtags or phrases from their feeds.
Efforts to Ensure a Safe and Enjoyable Viewing Experience:
TikTok’s latest feature is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to ensure a safe and enjoyable viewing experience for its users while enabling self-expression. In a statement, TikTok outlined its approach to safeguarding the platform, which includes removing content that breaks its rules, making inappropriate content ineligible for recommendation, minimizing recommendations of topics that could negatively impact viewers, and filtering out content with complex or mature themes from teen accounts.
Challenges of Recommendation Systems:
According to the statement, one inherent challenge of any recommendation system is ensuring the breadth of content surfaced to viewers is neither too narrow nor too repetitive. TikTok is intently focused on this challenge and works to design a system that intersperses a variety of topics. For instance, 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.
Commitment to Safety and Continuous Improvement:
TikTok’s trust and safety and product teams partner to drive system improvements, which are informed by academic literature and consultation with experts. The company has implemented over 15 updates in the past year to improve its systems, along with expanding support for more languages. TikTok understands that people express themselves in all sorts of ways on the platform, including during difficult life experiences. With this in mind, the company’s approach is to remove content that promotes or glorifies self-injury or other harmful policies while allowing recovery or educational content, with limits on how often such content is recommended.