TikTok to Begin Showing Users Why a Video Was Recommended to Them newsroom.tiktok.com


TikTok For You feeds enable people to discover an incredible diversity of ideas, creators, products, and entertainment. Our system recommends content by ranking videos based on a combination of factors based on your activity on our app, which includes adjusting for things you indicate you’re not interested in. Our goal is to serve a range of relevant and entertaining content. To help people understand why a particular video has been recommended to them, we’re rolling out a new tool over the coming weeks.

This sounds like a good step forward, albeit a limited one. The explanations for these recommendations have a similarly limited language and scope as ad transparency efforts like those from Google and Meta. They are often a narrow window into how these systems work, but too vague to understand why that specific material was chosen.

Although coverage of TikTok’s feature did not indicate a specific reason why it is being rolled out, I wonder if it is partially due to the European Union’s Digital Services Act, which requires larger platforms to explain their algorithmic choices. Expect more changes like this.