How the "For You" Page Algorithm Works on TikTok

How the “For You” Page Algorithm Works on TikTok

TikTok became known worldwide thanks to the functioning of the “For You” page algorithm. This technology manages to deliver short videos to the user based on tastes and consumption habits.

In addition, the “For You” feed is a fundamental part of content discovery, as it is possible to find unknown or rising creators there. This stream of videos tends to feed an infinite viewing mechanism, as there is always some subject related to already watched videos.

It’s important to note that each individual’s feed is always unique and personalized, even if people see the same featured videos from time to time. Do you have an idea of ​​how the “For You” page works? This article will explain the functioning and importance of the tab for TikTok.

For You: TikTok Recommendation Algorithm

The “For You” page is powered by an advanced recommendation system, which detects your taste based on interaction with content. If you are a follower of Canaltech on TikTok or watch a lot of technology videos, your tab is likely to show content about innovation, cell phones, gadgets and apps.

When someone watches a video to the end, they are sending a message to TikTok’s algorithm with the following message: “I liked this, send more”. This is the main metric of the service, but it is not the only one. Check out factors that influence the “For You” page:

  1. Watch a video until the end and/or repeat it several times;
  2. Search for a subject in the search tool;
  3. Follow an account;
  4. Liking or commenting on a video;
  5. Share or send the content to someone else;
  6. It takes longer than three seconds to scroll.

These are the main ways of interacting, but they are not the only ones either. Like every social network, TikTok has indicators to define if you really liked something or if you are just trying to manipulate the algorithm.

Factors that impact the algorithm

In addition to the general actions listed above, the tool also identifies other issues that are equally important, albeit lesser on a relevance criterion. If you follow a hashtag, you may receive more content using that hashtag, even if the video is about a completely random topic.

This goes for both music and subtitled content — if people tend to like one-word video subtitles like makeup, other videos about makes must arise. This factor explains the flood of videos using music that are in vogue at the moment: if you listen to a song a lot, you tend to receive all kinds of content that use it, including those that are not your preferences.

There is also an impact of device and account settings on the algorithm. Those in Brazil tend to receive more content from local creators. However, if the person has good interaction with content in English, even with their preference in Portuguese activated, they will also be able to view foreign content eventually.

It is important to highlight that all of this mentioned composes a kind of score ranking for each user. This sum is done in milliseconds for each video and guide TikTok’s algorithm to know when to show a video on the “For You” page.

How to handle “For you”?

An average user is able to target the content displayed by TikTok in the personalized feed by avoiding certain content. To do this, you must:

  1. Immediately skip an unwanted video as soon as it appears on the screen;
  2. Do not like, comment or share the content;
  3. Pressing the “Not interested” option — touch and hold the screen to view;
  4. Search for subjects of your interest and view these videos.

Although it is not guaranteed that unwanted videos will disappear, this strategy usually gives good results in reducing unwanted content. The social network plans to introduce a button to reset the “For You” page, which would clean up the recommendation algorithm, but this has not yet been implemented.

Recently, TikTok was accused of having a kind of secret button to promote a certain type of content in users’ feeds. In practice, this would mean that the platform is able to determine what each person will view, artificially generating trends and favoring content of interest to the service, such as manipulating public opinion or encouraging debates.

A TikTok spokesperson even confirmed that the company promotes videos to help diversify the content experience. The feature would also be used to feature celebrities and encourage emerging creators to grow stronger within the community. There is, however, no mention of the irregular use of the resource, either for personal use or to help companies or governments.

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