Don’t Blame TikTok for Unwanted Content

For You page promotes content based off user's habits

TikTok, a video sharing app released in 2016, has exploded onto the online-scene with over one billion users in March of 2020. But the app has been met with its fair share of flaws and criticisms by users. Beyond the For You page itself, videos with a phrase such as “like for part two” are incredibly annoying and are often there solely to get more likes and follows.

One of the most common gripes held by users is dissatisfaction with the For You page. The For You page, an endless stream of videos to scroll through, is the screen you’re met with upon opening TikTok and is the main way of consuming content on the app. With a multitude of low-effort dancing videos finding enormous success and populating the For You page to a near annoying level, many users get frustrated with the algorithm and blame it for a barrage of unwanted content. 

The For You page uses a machine learning algorithm to recommend videos to viewers in an effort to keep them on the app for as long as possible, using a system of pluses and minuses including likes, shares, hashtags etc. to decide who to show videos too. For example, if you tend to watch and like videos with #dogs connected to it, dog-related videos will be recommended to you. Or if you like videos from a certain creator, or tend to like videos in a certain like threshold, any of these factors can affect your For You page.

But, blaming the For You page for unwanted content is fundamentally wrong, as by paying attention to the videos you like, one can manipulate the algorithm to give control over the content you want. This problem stems not from the algorithm, but the user themself. By having a basic understanding of the way the For You page works, you can achieve the ideal For You page and eradicate unwanted content. 

The algorithm is only trying to help you, as its sole purpose is to keep you on TikTok for as long as possible. So next time you go on TikTok, use self control and pay attention to the videos you like and the people you follow while staying mindful of how each decision will affect your For You page.

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