TikTok is changing its For You Page algorithm

TikTok is changing its For You Page algorithm to prevent users from seeing too many similar videos that could be harmful when viewed in clusters, the company said today. The goal is to steer users away from clusters of videos that might “reinforce a negative personal experience,” listing extreme dieting, sadness, and breakup content as examples.

“At TikTok, we recognize that too much of anything, whether it’s animals, fitness tips, or personal well-being journeys, doesn’t fit with the diverse discovery experience we aim to create,” the company says in its release. The For You feed uses metrics like how long a viewer lingers over content to recommend videos.

The algorithm behind TikTok's personalized recommendations has been scrutinized. The Wall Street Journal's investigation revealed how the app can lead young users down rabbit holes of sex and drugs by repeatedly showing similar content. More research on the app, which surpassed 1 billion monthly users in September, is needed, according to health experts.

The company also said it was working on features that would give users more control over what content they see and don't see. Users would be able to exclude hashtags and words related to content from the For You feed. Users can already indicate that they are not interested in a video, and TikTok claims that similar content will be shown less frequently.