TikTok announced on Tuesday (20) a new feature for its application, which promises to make it clearer why a video is indicated to users. Thus, the person will be able to check a little more about the recommendation system, even if in a simple way. The company intends to release the tool in January 2023.
According to the statement, the app recommends content “by classifying videos based on a combination of factors according to each person’s activity on the app”.
That is, it is not at all easy to understand the reason for the suggestions.
In this way, TikTok believes that the new tool will help the user in this matter. It will work in the following steps:
- Tap the “Share” panel in the “For You” feed;
- Tap the “Why this video” question mark.
A screen will open with simple explanations like “This video is popular in your country” or “You are following this user”.
Feature is quite shallow
The Chinese company wants to be more clear on short video suggestions, however, this should still require a lot of experimentation. As the recommendation system is powered by “technical models”, it is difficult for a common user to understand the algorithms involved.
Some of the details of the process were released by TikTok:
- User actions, such as the content that the user consumes, likes or shares, comments that they post, or terms that they search for;
- Accounts that a person follows or accounts suggested to them;
- Recently posted content in the region;
- Popular content in the region.
However, statements like these are not very helpful in understanding a personal experience. That’s because the last three points are very generic, offering little or no relation to the user’s taste.
For example, I might frequently search for gaming videos, but if a particular dance is doing well in São Paulo, there’s a good chance that content will be suggested to me. In other words, the recommendation system is extremely superficial.
Transparency is welcome
Even though we still haven’t reached the ideal way to explain the suggestions, this is already an interesting step in the transparency of the platform.
TikTok has Community Guidelines content categories that are not accepted for recommendation. In addition, the safety of minors is also a point on which the company claims to be concerned. Thinking about it, the tool to explain the suggestions turns out to be welcome at this first moment.
It remains to wait for greater depth in this regard.