TikTok keeps the videos on your home page diverse because it doesn't want you to 'get bored and close the app,' a new report says

TikTok keeps the videos on your home page diverse because it doesn't want you to 'get bored and close the app,' a new report says
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  • TikTok mixes up users' "For You" feeds so they won't get bored and close the app.
  • Its solution was "forced recommendation in users' for u feed," per an internal document.

TikTok purposefully diversifies its feed of content shown to users — the For You Page (FYP)— to keep them hooked on the ultra-popular video-sharing app for as long as possible, according to a New York Times report Monday.

The newspaper viewed an internal company document, dubbed "TikTok Algo 101," that TikTok's Beijing-based engineering team wrote to brief other non-technical staff. It details a wide range of aspects regarding how the company keeps people scrolling, including its recommendations algorithm.

"If a user likes a certain kind of video, but the app continues to push the same kind to him, he would quickly get bored and close the app," reads the document, as The Times reported. "In this case, the total value created by a user watching the same kind of videos is lower than that of watching every single video, because repetitiveness leads to boredom."

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The document listed "forced recommendation in users' for u feed" as one solution to keep people's home page diverse.

A company spokesperson confirmed to the Times that the document is authentic and was created to explain the basics of how the algorithm works.


"We want TikTok to bring people joy, and we recognize that too much of anything doesn't fit with the diverse discovery experience we aim to create," a TikTok spokesperson told Insider. "We continue to invest in new ways to customize content preferences, automatically skip videos that aren't relevant or age-appropriate, and remove violations of our Community Guidelines."

The spokesperson also said TikTok considers a range of signals, like likes and follows, when recommending content.

Monday's report sheds more light on how TikTok keeps users hooked through proprietary algorithms that serve up content from around the world, and provides a rare look into how it and other social media companies compete for users' time.

TikTok app has been downloaded three billion times around the world, a milestone that only Facebook and its family of apps have previously hit.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported that TikTok tracks how long users hover over videos and can tell if someone watches a video more than once. The outlet found that it's not likes or shares that TikTok watches most closely — it's how long users watch each video.