TikTok adapts to EU regulations, allowing users to opt out of personalised feeds

The social media platform will now enable users to opt out of receiving personalized content recommendations, a feature aligned with the DSA’s requirements for greater user choice.

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In Europe, TikTok is introducing the ability for users to choose not to receive a personalised algorithm-based feed. This change is in response to the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA). Instead of showing content based on individual interests, the “For You” and “LIVE” feeds will display popular videos from users’ geographical locations and globally. Additionally, search results will showcase popular content in the user’s chosen language, and the “Following” and “Friends” feeds will be presented chronologically.

The DSA applies to ‘very large social media platforms’ like TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, requiring them to offer the option to opt out of personalised recommendations and be more transparent about content moderation. The law also prohibits targeted advertising towards children, meaning users under 18 on TikTok won’t see personalised ads anymore.

These changes are expected to be implemented by TikTok in Europe by August 28, as per the DSA’s deadline. Other social media companies will likely make similar adjustments across Europe due to this law.

Why does it matter? The DSA is generating industry-wide consequences, with some platforms taking action to contest their designation as very large online platforms by the European Commission and avoid its requirements. The assessment of financial ramifications for TikTok and the subsequent impact on its revenue model remains an area yet to be thoroughly examined. Furthermore, with these changes users could potentially encounter a complex balancing act involving considerations of privacy versus content relevance and discoverability.