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TikTok Looks to Limit Harmful Impacts of Algorithm Amplification with New Tests

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This is an interesting experiment – TikTok has outlined how it’s looking to reduce the potentially harmful impacts of algorithm amplification by limiting the amount of videos in certain, sensitive categories that are highlighted in user ‘For You’ Feeds.

That could reduce polarization, and stop users feeling overwhelmed by some topics.

As explained by TikTok:

We recognize that too much of anything – whether it’s animals, fitness tips, or personal well-being journeys – doesn’t fit with the diverse discovery experience we aim to create. That’s why our recommendation system works to intersperse recommendations that might fall outside people’s expressed preferences, offering an opportunity to discover new categories of content. For example, our systems won’t recommend two videos in a row made by the same creator or with the same sound. Doing so enriches the viewing experience and can help promote exposure to a range of ideas and perspectives on our platform.”

That, in itself, helps to broaden the TikTok experience, and keep things fresh. But now, TikTok’s also looking to expand its system limits to ensure that users are not shown too much content on certain topics.

As we continue to develop new strategies to interrupt repetitive patterns, we’re looking at how our system can better vary the kinds of content that may be recommended in a sequence. That’s why we’re testing ways to avoid recommending a series of similar content – such as around extreme dieting or fitness, sadness, or breakups – to protect against viewing too much of a content category that may be fine as a single video but problematic if viewed in clusters.”

Which is actually a key concern, with algorithms, utilizing binary qualifiers, working to show you more of what you engage with, without the context of why you might be viewing or otherwise interacting with certain clips.

If you’re in a vulnerable state and you end up watching more videos related to similar concerns, that could indicate to an algorithmic system that you’re interested in more of that content – when really, routing more of that material to you, at that time, could actually cause more harm, which a machine learning system can’t understand, without additional guidance.

It’s a smart exploration by TikTok – and while it won’t necessarily be able to catch all possible instances of potential harm in this respect, if it can limit the impacts of some of the worst elements, that could be significant.

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In addition to this, TikTok’s also developing a new option that would enable people to choose disqualifying words or hashtags, associated with content that they don’t want to see in their ‘For You’ feed, to reduce instances of unwanted exposure, based on personal preference.

That could be diet videos, make-up tutorials – whatever issue you find triggering, you would be able to reduce, and maybe even eliminate from your feed entirely, lessening the potential impacts of such in your experience.

Given its popularity among younger users, this is a critical element of focus for TikTok, with the platform already under significant scrutiny over the impact that its trends and content can have on young, impressionable users, in varying ways.

Giving people more capacity to control their ‘For You’ recommendations could be a big step – but even further, enhancing its automated recommendations around potentially sensitive topics could be even more valuable, as not everyone has the self-awareness to be able to moderate their own experience in this way.

Considering its rapid growth, TikTok has done fairly well in providing algorithmic protections thus far, and its addictive algorithm, and capacity to pull from a huge pool of publicly uploaded clips, really is the app’s secret sauce, and the reason for its massive success.

With that in mind, intelligent explorations like this are key to keeping users as safe from harm as possible, and TikTok, which doesn’t rely on personal connections in the same way as other social apps, has more capacity for such, which is a key element.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Meta Launches New Reels Features, Including Stories to Reels Conversion and Improved Analytics

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Meta Launches New Reels Features, Including Stories to Reels Conversion and Improved Analytics

As it works to latch onto the short-form video trend, and negate the rising influence of TikTok, Meta has announced some new updates for Reels, across both Facebook and Instagram, including additional Reels insights, the expansion of the ‘Add Yours’ sticker, and ‘auto-created’ Reels clips. Yes, automatically created Reels videos.

Here’s how the new additions work.

The main addition is the expansion of the ‘Add Yours’ sticker from Stories to Reels, providing another way to prompt engagement from other users via Reels clips.

As you can see in these example images, you’ll now be able to post ‘Add Yours’ questions via Reels clips, while you’ll also be able to view all the various video responses to any prompt in each app.

It could be another way to spark engagement, and lean into the more interactive ethos of the short form video trend. Part of the appeal of TikTok is that it invites people in, with the participatory nature of the app essentially expanding meme engagement, by making it more accessible for users to add their own take.

Meta will be hoping that the ‘Add Yours’ sticker helps to facilitate the same, prompting more engagement with Reels clips.

Next up is auto-created Facebook Reels, which, as it sounds, will enable users to automatically convert their archived Stories into Reels clips.

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Reels updates

As you can see here, you’ll soon see a new ‘Create from Your Story Archive’ prompt in the Reels creation flow, which will then enable you to convert your Stories into Reels clips.

So it’s not exactly wholly automated Reels creation, as it’s just flipping your Stories clips into Reels as well. But it could provide another, simple way for users and brands to create Stories content, utilizing the video assets that they already have to link into the trend.

Worth noting that Meta also recently added a tool to convert your video assets into Reels within Creator Studio.

Meta’s also expanding access to its ‘Stars’ creator donations to Facebook Reels, which is now being opened up to all eligible creators.

Stars donations in Reels

Meta initially announced the coming expansion of Stars to Reels back in June, which will provide another critical monetization pathway for Reels creators. Short form video is not as directly monetizable as longer clips, where you can insert pre and mid-roll adds, so add-on elements like this are key to keeping creators posting, and fueling an ecosystem for such in its apps.

Stars on Reels will be available all creators that have maintained at least 1,000 followers over the last 60 days.

Meta’s also adding new Reels performance insights to Creator Studio, including Reach, Minutes Viewed, and Average Watch Time.

Reels updates

That’ll provide more perspective on what’s working, and what’s not, to help optimize your Reels approach – which could be especially valuable in the coming holiday push.

Lastly, Meta’s also expanding some Reels features that were previously only available in Instagram to Facebook as well.

Crossposting from Instagram to Facebook is now available to all Instagram users, while Meta’s also expanding its Remix option to Facebook Reels also.

Reels updates

As noted, Reels has become a key focus for Meta, as the short-form video trend continues to gain traction, and TikTok continues to rise as a potential competitor. By replicating TikTok’s main elements, Meta’s working to negate its key differentiation, which could ensure that more of its users don’t bother downloading a new app, and just stick with its platforms instead.’

Which, whether you agree with that approach or not, has proven effective. Reels content now makes up more than 20% of the time that people spend on Instagram, while video content, overall, makes up 50% of the time that people spend on Facebook.

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Meta additionally notes that it’s seen a more than 30% increase in engagement time with Reels across both Facebook and Instagram.

Meta doesn’t need to ‘beat’ TikTok as such (as much as it would like to), but it does need to dilute its significance if it can, and make it less appealing for users to have to start yet another new account, and re-build their friends list.

That’s why it’ll continue to replicate TikTok at every turn, because millions of people are currently not going to TikTok because of the presence of Reels in its apps.  

You can learn more about Meta’s new Reels updates here.

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