HomeSocial MediaHow TikTok recommends videos on the For You tab

How TikTok recommends videos on the For You tab

Understand how TikTok recommends videos on For You; know how the social network is based on obvious factors and others not so much

How does TikTok recommend videos on the #ForYou (For You) tab? After the controversy that exposed the methods of the social network that avoided promoting videos of “ugly” and “poor” users, the platform went into more detail about how “TikTok For You” works. 

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The feed on the TikTok home screen acts as a discovery area, is critical to the in-app experience and is also where most users spend their time.

How For You works on TikTok

When you open TikTok, the first thing you see is the For You feed. There, you receive a stream of videos curated by TikTok based on your interests. That is the algorithm. This feed is powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user (including only what matters, excluding what does not). 

“Part of the magic of TikTok is that there is no single For You feed – different people can find some of the same featured videos, but each person’s feed is unique and personalized for the specific individual,” explains a post on the official blog.

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ByteDance, the owner of the app, says that TikTok’s mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy. But it was not always so. To take away for the privacy controversies.

The “Para Você”, in the Portuguese version, defines the experience in TikTok, and it is natural to question how the recommendations are chosen. In early 2020, leaked documents showed that TikTok censored faces and bodies considered ugly, people with disabilities and poor environments, such as slums, in its strategy to attract new users. In its defence, the social network said that such policies are no longer used.

In the eye of the hurricane, the social network decided to give more details on how everything works.

TikTok also said that it works to tackle problems that all referral services can deal with and promised to share tips on how you can personalize your TikTok discovery experience and have more control in the feed.

Recommendation systems

The recommendation systems are on Facebook, Twitter and also on TikTok. As the social network itself points out, from stores like Amazon to streaming like Netflix, recommendation systems help to create a personalized experience.

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In general, these systems suggest content after taking into account user preferences, expressed through interactions with the application, such as posting a comment, cutting a link or following an account with a specific theme. These signals help the recommendation system to rate the content you like best.

TikTok For You

Therefore, For You should also consider your interactions on TikTok. However, those who started using the application – without an extensive history so that artificial intelligence could deliberate – noticed that there is a tendency for subjects and people there.

“The feed reflects the user’s unique preferences. The system recommends content by rating videos based on a combination of factors – starting with the interests you express as a new user and adjusting for things you’re not interested in as well – to form your personalized feed, ”he says.

The recommendations are based on a few obvious factors:

  • User interactions, such as videos you liked or shared, accounts you follow, comments you post and content you create;
  • Video information, which may include details of subtitles, sounds and hashtags.
  • Device and account settings, such as language preference, country setting, and device type.

And, also, in other more subjective factors:

These factors help the recommendation system, but they are given less weight compared to other data, considered “stronger”. Videos are rated to determine the likelihood of interest in the content and delivered to the exclusive feed.

“A strong indicator of interest, such as if a user finishes watching a longer video from beginning to end, would receive more weight than a weak indicator as to if the viewer and the creator of the video are in the same country,” explains platform text.

How the TikTok algorithm works

Also according to TikTok, although it is likely that a video will receive more views if published by an account with more followers because this account has built a larger follower base, neither the follower count nor if the account had previous videos of high performance are a “direct factor” in the recommendation.

That is, if you’re watching and enjoying videos you don’t like, just to help an account’s statistics or because it’s a friend, this is shaping your For You experience. You should see more videos like these in some aspect. To change that, you need to be more selective and not get carried away, watching until the end everything that appears in the home screen feed, although it is almost impossible to stop.


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George Philip
George Philip
George Philip is a seasoned tech professional with a deep-rooted passion for all things tech-related. His mission is to demystify complex tech topics and provide you with the insights and knowledge you need to navigate the ever-changing world of technology. With a keen eye for detail and a talent for making the intricate seem simple, George crafts engaging content that explores how technology impacts your daily life, your workplace, and the broader global landscape. Whether you're eager to stay updated on the latest gadgets, intrigued by emerging tech trends, or simply looking to understand how digital innovations shape our world, George's writing is your trusted source for clarity and expertise. Feel free to reach out to George via email at [email protected] for inquiries, collaboration opportunities, or to engage in thought-provoking discussions about the fast-paced world of tech. Stay informed, stay connected, and let George be your guide in the tech-savvy universe.


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