TikTok is making its personalised algorithm optional in Europe to comply with new privacy rules.
The EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) requires large online platforms to provide an “opt-out” data and account tracking option.
It means TikTok users will soon be able to turn off personalisation entirely and just view a hub of “popular videos”.
ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, says these videos will be served based on viewing habits from “places where they live and around the world”.
TikTok is renowned for the quality of its algorithm, which is able to serve new and unique content based on a user’s personal interests.
So the latest move is quite a notable change.
When the algorithm is switched off, users will still see videos in the “For You” section but they won’t be populated based on tracking.
Meanwhile, content will be displayed in chronological order in the feeds for “Friends” and “Following”.
The search feature will also show content based on its popularity in a specific region, rather than a user’s tastes.
TikTok isn’t the only company required to make changes to comply with DSA rules.
18 other companies including Twitter, Instagram and YouTube will need to update their features in the near future.
TikTok says it’s aiming to offer a non-personalised experience by DSA’s deadline, which has been set for the end of August.
It will be interesting to see whether the changes apply to UK users.
Threads recently launched in the UK but not the EU due to the latter’s stricter privacy rules.