The short form video platform said videos are recommended by ranking videos “based on a combination of factors” – starting with interests expressed by a new user and “adjusting for things” they are not interested in.
Writing in a blog post, TikTok went on to add that factors include user interactions such as liking and sharing, video information like captions and hashtags, and device and account settings including language preference and device type.
“All these factors are processed by our recommendation system and weighted based on their value to a user.
“A strong indicator of interest, such as whether a user finishes watching a longer video from beginning to end, would receive greater weight than a weak indicator, such as whether the video’s viewer and creator are both in the same country.
“Videos are then ranked to determine the likelihood of a user’s interest in a piece of content, and delivered to each unique For You feed,” the post reads.
Alongside detailing how videos are suggested to users, TikTok also addressed “the challenges of recommendation engines”, saying that they can “inadvertently limit” an individual’s experience through “filter bubbles”.
“Sometimes you may come across a video in your feed that doesn’t appear to be relevant to your expressed interests or have amassed a huge number of likes. This is an important and intentional component of our approach to recommendation.
“Bringing a diversity of videos into your For You feed gives you additional opportunities to stumble upon new content categories, discover new creators, and experience new perspectives and ideas as you scroll through your feed,” it says.
The post concludes with TikTok expressing a commitment to “further research and investment” around “the engagement bias that can affect nay recommendation system”.
They said: “This work spans many teams – including product, safety, and security – whose work helps improve the relevance of the recommendation system and its accuracy in suggesting content and categories you’re more likely to enjoy.
“Ultimately, your For You feed is powered by your feedback: the system is designed to continuously improve, correct, and learn from your own engagement with the platform to produce personalized recommendations that we hope inspire creativity and bring joy with every refresh of your For You feed.”
The full blog post is available to view on TikTok’s Newsroom website.