TikTok is addicting, thanks in large part to its algorithm. But it isn’t perfect: You watch one too many recipe videos, and, all of a sudden, the app thinks you want to learn everything there is to know about being a chef. If your For You page is a little out of whack, there’s now an easy way to reset the algorithm and start afresh.
To be fair to the algorithm (since I fear it), TikTok is more adept than most when it comes to learning what you like. From the moment you open the app, it studies how you interact with the videos in your feed, quickly learning which types of content you skip, and which keep you watching. That’s why, after a while, it’s near impossible to tear yourself away from your For You page.
But what makes it great also makes it problematic. If you engage well with one particular TikTok, and God forbid share it, the app might think you want a lot more of that type of content. Sometimes that’s true, but often it isn’t the case. You might watch a long, sad video all the way through once, and from then on be delivered tragedy after tragedy until your For You page is an unescapable cycle of depression. Or maybe you liked a video or two on music production, and now every other TikTok is a three-minute breakdown of how to properly mix vocals in the studio.
It’s like when your relatives find out you have a new hobby, and never stop buying you gifts related to that hobby, even after you’ve long outgrown it.
Until now, the “Not interested” button was our only way to directly tell the algorithm to stop showing us a certain style of content. But now, TikTok is introducing a new reset button that restores your For You page to factory settings. Once you hit it, you’ll be treated like a new user—a blank canvas ready to teach the algorithm the things you want to see (and quickly decry the things you don’t).
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TikTok is rolling out this new reset button over the “coming weeks” to its users, so it’s possible the app will be banned in the U.S. before you have a chance to check it out. But let’s say TikTok survives this latest challenge in the States. You’ll find the reset button by first tapping the Profile tab, choosing the hamburger menu icon in the top right, tapping Settings and privacy, then Content preferences. If you have the option, it’ll appear here as “Refresh your For You feed.”