TikTok users in Europe are about to receive more control over their content exposure. The popular social media platform recently revealed plans to comply with the European Union’s new Digital Services Act (DSA), which would allow European users to opt-out of its content-selection algorithm. Instead of receiving personalized “For You” videos based on their online activity, users can now choose to see a feed of recommended videos that do not rely on tracking their digital footprint.
The move is part of a larger response to the DSA’s requirement for large online platforms to give users the option of non-personalized content recommendations. As a result, TikTok is making necessary adjustments, including changes related to content moderation and transparency. This means users will have more influence over their content, shifting from a personalized feed tailored to their interests to a chronological feed of videos from both their region and around the world.
The changes will also impact advertising. For instance, European users aged 13-17 will no longer see personalized ads based on their activity, and older users have the option to turn off personalized ads in the settings. In addition, TikTok will introduce an extra content reporting option for users to flag illegal content. This decision comes after critics argued the precision of social media algorithms can lead to addiction and harm.
Finally, in an effort towards greater transparency, TikTok started explaining why certain videos are recommended in users’ feeds last December. This move was prompted by demands from campaigners for more clarity about its algorithm. The question now is how these changes will affect TikTok’s success, given its traditional reliance on algorithm-generated content.