In February, TikTok revealed that it was testing a feature that will give you a way to reset the recommendations that appear on your For You page. Now, the ByteDance-owned app is rolling out this “refresh” option to all users, so you can get rid of video recommendations that no longer feel relevant. If you enable it, the For You feed will look like you just signed up for an account, and TikTok’s algorithm will start displaying content based on your most recent interactions on the app.
To reset your feed, head over to TikTok’s Settings & Privacy menu, then scroll down until you find Content preferences. There, you’ll find a new option that says “Update your feed For you.” Keep in mind that’s all the new feature does: it won’t change any of your settings or unfollow accounts you’ve previously followed.
In addition to the new “refresh” feature, TikTok has also updated its efforts to reduce repetitive content patterns that could be harmful. The app has been doing this for quite some time, and has been enforcing limits on videos that don’t exactly violate its policies, but can have an effect on your viewing experience. Examples include videos featuring sadness or extreme diet and exercise. Now, if its systems detect a repetition of such topics within a set of videos, it actively replaces some of them with videos on a different topic. That way, you can further limit your exposure to content that could contain certain triggers.
These are just the latest updates that TikTok has released in an attempt to improve its algorithm, which has been the subject of investigations and has been at the center of discussions about whether the app should be banned. TikTok’s critics even call its algorithm-enabled user experience manipulative, designed to keep you glued to the app.
It’s no secret that the service has come under intense scrutiny in recent years, so it’s also no surprise that TikTok has made an effort to demystify its algorithm and give you more control over the content you see. They will certainly give TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew more positive talking points when he attempts to get the app viewed positively by authorities on March 23. Chew will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that day and is expected to discuss the app’s privacy and data security, as well as its impact on children and ties to China.