TikTok will let European users decide whether they want a personalized For You Page

The service is implementing massive changes to comply with the EU's Digital Services Act.


TikTok is undergoing massive changes for users in the European Union in order to meet the August 28th deadline the region's authorities gave companies to comply with the Digital Services Act (DSA). Perhaps the biggest change users will encounter is the ability to decide whether or not to let algorithms power their For You page (FYP). "Soon," the service announced, users in the region will be able to switch off personalization. If they do, then their FYP will be populated with popular videos within their location and from around the world instead of content tailored to them.

When they search for any subject in particular, the results will also be comprised of popular videos in their region and content in their preferred language. They can still head to their Following and Friends feeds to see posts by people they follow, but both will now show a chronological timeline instead of one based on their profile. Under the DSA, "providers of very large online platforms," of which TikTok is included, are required to to ensure that users can "enjoy alternative options which are not based on profiling" as part of their "recommender systems." That means they have to offer an option that presents their content to users in a way that doesn't use their personal data.

As TechCrunch notes, it'll be an enormous shift for TikTok, seeing as most of its success is credited to the algorithm that powers its For You Page. Its scrollable format filled with videos targeting specific users is what makes the app so addicting.

In addition to introducing an alternative FYP, TikTok is rolling out an additional reporting option for European users for content they believe shouldn't be allowed on the platform. If the service decides that it doesn't violate its general guidelines upon review, a new dedicated team of moderators will then take a look at it to see if it violates laws in the region. TikTok can then restrict access to the reported video within that country or region only.

The social network will also start giving users in Europe more details about its content moderation decisions, such as why posts with false information aren't eligible for recommendation. Finally, it said that it will no longer serve personalized advertising to users in Europe ages 13 to 17 based on their activities.