The social media giant TikTok has announced its plans to change what users see on its For You feed, the app’s main page. The social networking service hopes to dismantle clusters of videos on topics it deems problematic or unhealthy for the consumers’ mental health.
“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,” TikTok wrote in a blog post. “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.”
The company is working to identify if their algorithm “inadvertently” promotes limited content variations, leading to negative mental health implications. The app’s current algorithm uses metrics based on how long a viewer engages with a post to generate the remainder of the feed, often more similar content.
TikTok is aware that consumers will watch breakup videos, dieting tips, and vulnerable stories but find it “problematic if viewed in clusters” and “reinforces a negative personal experience while using the app.” Experts across medicine, clinical psychology and AI ethics have assisted TikTok in the new algorithm research. The ultimate goal is for users to encounter a variety of content from diverse creators over a range of topics on their For You feed.
The company also plans to include a new feature in the future that allows users to flag and customize what content they don’t want to see pop up on their For You feed.