TikTok Introduces Refresh Button to Help Users Diversify their Feeds

Russell Kidson
Mar 17, 2023
Updated • Mar 17, 2023

TikTok has long been known for its algorithm-driven content recommendations, which have helped make the app such a popular destination for users seeking bite-sized entertainment. However, many users have also reported feeling trapped in 'echo chambers' of content, where they see the same types of videos over and over again. In response, TikTok has developed a new feature that aims to address this issue by giving users more control over the content they see on their For You page.

The refresh button, which has been in testing since February, allows users to reset their content recommendations to their original state, as if they had just created their TikTok account. This feature effectively wipes the slate clean, allowing users to start fresh and receive new recommendations based on their updated preferences and interactions. By giving users the ability to update their feeds whenever they desire, TikTok hopes to make the app more dynamic and engaging for its user base.

The rollout of this feature is a significant step for TikTok, which has faced criticism in the past for its opaque algorithm and lack of user control over content recommendations. By introducing the refresh button, TikTok is demonstrating a commitment to providing a more personalized and responsive user experience. As the feature is rolled out globally over the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see how users respond and whether it helps to diversify and enrich their TikTok experience.

TikTok's recommendations system is a closely guarded algorithm that takes into account user actions such as watch time, comments, and likes to suggest relevant content. According to TikTok, users may wish to refresh their feed if they lose interest in the types of videos the app is presenting or if they believe they are being shown too much of the same type of content. Additionally, TikTok users frequently discuss 'training' the algorithm to influence the kinds of videos they are presented with, and the refresh feature could accelerate this process or provide users with a more direct method of altering their content stream.

Related: Gen Z still prefers TikTok for news

TikTok Introduces Refresh Button to Help Users Diversify their Feeds

TikTok toxicity

The reset button feature also aims to address a common problem with TikTok's For You page: it can be too efficient in recommending related content, leading to users being overwhelmed with excessive repetition. While these 'rabbit holes' are generally frustrating, they can also pose risks, depending on the subject matter. In a 2021 investigation conducted by The Wall Street Journal, for instance, teenage users were inundated with videos related to weight loss and eating disorders on TikTok. Shortly before the article was published, TikTok stated that it was developing measures to prevent excessively repetitive content patterns from occurring.

While the new feature does not provide users with complete control over their For You page, it is a step in the right direction. Users may find it helpful to have a shuffle button that allows them to switch up their content stream when it becomes too predictable, uninteresting, or irrelevant. 

Cosmetic changes may not matter at this stage

TikTok has faced significant controversy in recent years, particularly from the US government and other countries' governments, which have raised concerns about data privacy and national security risks associated with the app's Chinese ownership. In light of these concerns, many are questioning whether cosmetic changes to the app will make any meaningful difference.

On the one hand, some argue that any efforts by TikTok to improve its platform's user experience could help the company regain trust with its users and governments around the world. By addressing issues such as repetitive content and giving users more control over their feeds, TikTok may be able to demonstrate that it takes users' concerns seriously and is willing to make changes to address them.

On the other hand, others argue that cosmetic changes alone are unlikely to satisfy governments' demands for greater transparency and oversight. Without more significant changes to the app's ownership structure or data privacy policies, it may be difficult for TikTok to overcome the reputational damage it has incurred.

Ultimately, whether cosmetic changes will matter for TikTok's future success and public perception remains to be seen. While they may help the company improve the user experience and rebuild trust with users, they are unlikely to fully address the underlying concerns that have led to government scrutiny of the app. As such, it may be necessary for TikTok to undertake more substantive changes to its business model and practices to fully overcome the controversies it has faced.


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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments (https://www.ghacks.net/chatgpt-gets-schooled-by-princeton-university/#comments). Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If ghacks.net intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this Friend.tech as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/08/23/what-is-friend-tech/] and it appears there but as well here at [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/07/08/how-to-follow-everyone-on-threads/]

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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