The “For You” TikTok Algorithm: How Does It Work

The TikTok Algorithm has helped the app gain so much popularity in such short notice. Do you ever wonder how a mobile app can so accurately suggest the content that you like?

If you didn’t know this before, there is a fun fact for you today. Your personal account is so well customized that no two TikTok home screens will look similar.

Records show that it has been downloaded for over 2 billion times from the app store. The platform has laid the foundation for various influencers that are popular today.

The company has never personally revealed how the backend of the app works. But this post would introduce you to a lot of surprising facts.

The Chinese Government Conspiracy

The Chinese Government Conspiracy

If an app is totally free to use and never costs you anything for its service, there is always a catch.

The company is not making any money out of selling products or services because you are everything they need. They see great value in the data that you provide them.

There have been various accusations on the firm saying that they are stealing data from the users. Rumours were floating all around social media saying that the Chinese government had a major role to play in this.

People who were using TikTok started praising the Chinese Government because they thought it would help their videos to gain views.

A Transparent View At The Working

The “For You” TikTok algorithm considers various factors before recommending you something.

These factors usually involve your interests, search history, type of videos you watch and how long you watch them. When a new user uploads a video, it first gets recommended only to a very low number of users.

Based on how long the users watch the video, it will gain an audience. If more number of people love the video and watch it fully, the audience gets wider and wider.

If the cycle gets repeated over and over again, a video goes viral. The whole thing would go downhill if the initial set of users don’t like your content.

The “For You” Page

The "For You" Page

For the reasons mentioned above, your “For You” page would contain a vast variety of videos. It may have several hundred likes or it might be from a new user who’s just uploading his first video.

To put it in other words, TikTok gives a chance for everyone to thrive. In an official statement, the company also said, the more number of followers you have, the more reach your video will have.

Having other videos on your page that were previously popular also gives you an advantage. This is because the chances of your video having a positive feedback loop are much higher in cases like this.

Strong & Weak Signals

We discussed how TikTok’s algorithm uses various signals to determine the type of content that a user loves.

Some of these signals get more priority than others. Have you watched it till the end? Did you share the video? Did you follow the creator who posted it? There are some of the strong parameters that TikTok prioritizes.

Is this content relevant in the country you live in? and your language preference is some of the weaker signals. The negative feedbacks that the video had in the past are also taken into account.

If enough number of people have tapped on “Not Interested”, your video might eventually lose traction.

Challenges Associated

Challenges Associated

TikTok Algorithm also has various flaws that are invisible to the normal eye. Recommending similar videos over and over again might seem technically phenomenal.

But the audience would get more and more bored and would start losing their interest. To avoid this from happening, TikTok has a trump card.

Inbetween the videos on your “For You” page, you might also see videos that are far out of your liking. Getting you exposed to various type of content is very essential for TikTok to survive.


At the end of the day, TikTok just wants one thing from you which is normally what every other social media would want.

They need you to stay and use their app for as long as humanly possible. There are reports that say it even analyses the entire video and looks for specific pointers.

The type of music that’s used in the video is one such pointer. If you happen to like that video, you will see more videos with the same sound pattern.

In the near future, various facts about the TikTok Algorithm would get unveiled.

Disclaimer: This information is covered based on the latest research and development available. However, it may not fully reflect all current aspects of the subject matter.

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