Dubai, UAE, 18 June 2020, As the leading destination for short-form mobile video, TikTok’s mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy. As its user base continues growing in the MENA region and around the world, TikTok today explains how recommendations are delivered to the For You feed, which is  central to the TikTok experience and where most users spend their time.  The basis of the For You feed is a recommendation system. Recommendation systems are designed to help people have a more personalized experience — they suggest content after taking into account user preferences as expressed through interactions with the app, like posting a comment or following an account. 

On TikTok, the For You feed reflects preferences unique to each user. The system recommends content by ranking videos based on a combination of factors, including things like: 

  • User interactions such as the videos you like or share, accounts you follow, comments you post, and content you create.
  • Video information, which might include details like captions, sounds, and hashtags.
  • Device and account settings like your language preference, country setting, and device type. These factors are included to make sure the system is optimized for performance, but they receive lower weight in the recommendation system relative to other data points since users don’t actively express these as preferences.

To keep each For You feed interesting and varied and avoid a “filter bubble”, TikTok’s recommendation system works to intersperse diverse types of content. For example, the feed generally won’t show two videos in a row made with the same sound or by the same creator. An important and intentional component of TikTok’s approach to recommendation is bringing a diversity of videos into each For You feed to give users additional opportunities to stumble upon new content categories, discover new creators, and experience new perspectives and ideas. 

In addition, TikTok’s recommendation system is designed with safety as a consideration. Reviewed content found to depict things like graphic medical procedures or legal consumption of regulated goods, for example – which may be shocking if surfaced as a recommended video to a general audience that hasn’t opted in to such content – may not be eligible for recommendation. Similarly, videos that have just been uploaded or are under review, and spam content such as videos seeking to artificially increase traffic, also may be ineligible for recommendation into anyone’s For Youfeed.

Developing and maintaining TikTok’s recommendation system is a continuous process. TikTok is committed to further research and investment as it works to build in even more protections against the engagement bias that can affect any recommendation system.