The social media apps you use maintain algorithms to classify content and show you what might be relevant to your profile. To achieve this goal, apps rely on the behavior maintained on these platforms – for example, pointing to a video from a channel you’ve already interacted with, whether by liking, commenting or sharing the post. Each platform, like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, has its own algorithms, with differences in how they work, but with the same goal: to keep users interested in the feed.
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It’s worth mentioning that the algorithm doesn’t always work accurately, so there’s always the possibility that you’ll see something that you don’t consider relevant. There are even ways to “bypass” the tool as well – using, for example, chronological feed. To understand how algorithms work, here are five actions you take in apps that impact them.
Understand how your actions in apps can influence algorithm — Photo: Reproduction/Pexels
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1. Like videos or photos
This behavior is one of the most impacting algorithms. By liking a photo or video, you will show the app that you like that content and that, in some way, it was relevant to you. In this way, the tool will be able to show other posts from the same account or that have a similar structure. While an algorithm has many metrics, this type of direct reaction has a big bearing on what will appear in your feed.
Also, your like on a post can affect what other users see. This is because some algorithms work collaboratively, capturing the behavior of some profiles and suggesting similar content for similar profiles. This practice helps to broaden the horizon of suggestions, and may be the reason why an interesting post came to you.
Liking photos and videos influences the algorithm of applications (Photo: Reproduction/Helito Bijora) — Photo: TechTudo
The advertisements displayed on social networks also pass through the algorithm’s filter, as the advertising content that arrives in your feed is indicated to you according to your behavior on the social network. Thus, by tapping on any of them, you will confirm your interest in the subject to the algorithm – similar to what happens with publications that you like or don’t like. That is why, when opening advertisements, it is very likely that you will see other similar content.
Some algorithms rank the relevance of a particular ad according to the types of interactions it generates. For example, when people not only open the ad, but like and leave comments, it increases the chances of that type of post appearing more frequently in the feed.
Advertisements you see on your timeline have to do with your behavior; learn more — Photo: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash
Some platforms even cross-reference your behavior with other apps to understand what might or might not be interesting to you. There are some ways to “circumvent” this practice, if you see it as abusive. Tapping “Block Ad”, for example, is a way to show the algorithm that you are not interested.
Also, on iPhone (iOS), you can, when downloading an app, select the option “Ask the app not to track” – which will make that app not be able to track data such as location and websites visited by you. Still, the ideal thing to avoid crossing data between applications is not to create your accounts from other accreditations – such as Facebook, for example.
3. Interact with content and accounts
On social media and other apps, you can like, comment and share videos, photos and other content. This type of behavior is a key part of many algorithms, as direct interaction with a post can show that it is relevant to the user and that they would like to have more related content in their feed. On the other hand, some types of interactions also allow you to tell the tool that you are not interested – such as, for example, the “I did not like” button on Youtube, which can cause the platform to decrease the suggestion of certain types of videos. .
On Pinterest, for example, the algorithm collects data from your interactions to suggest new content with the same theme the next time you log in. TikTok also has interaction as one of the pillars of its algorithm. All this data can be used by social networks in the process of machine learning, in which the tool combines the interaction information to “predict” what the user would like to be displayed in their feed.
YouTube considers your behavior, like your dislikes, when suggesting videos; learn more — Photo: TechTudo
The accounts you interact with – whether from brands or from friends – also influence what you see on your timeline, as the algorithm can understand that what is interesting to frequent contact, for example, may interest you too . Also, if your interactions with these specific accounts are frequent, they will appear more frequently on your timeline.
Also, if you have more robust interactions with content, such as commenting and/or sharing, the tendency is for that theme to appear more often for you. Your app searches – like searching for a topic on Twitter, for example – are also taken into account by the algorithm. So keep this information in mind when interacting with what appears on your timeline.
4. Save to view later
Some platforms allow you to save content for later viewing. This option, like the likes, shows your interest in the post – since, even though you can’t watch it right now, you decide to save it so you don’t lose access. Thus, as with other practices, this action can cause the social network to suggest similar content on its homepage. This becomes most effective when the user really likes the content they’ve bookmarked for later, taking actions like liking, commenting, and sharing.
Like other interactions on social networks, saving for later also helps the algorithm learn more about your tastes and make more and more accurate suggestions. This goes for apps like Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, for example, that have this native feature.
Youtube has “save for later” button — Photo: Getty Images
5. Block/Mute Content and Accounts
Some social networks allow you to block or mute content that is not relevant or that you simply don’t like. This attitude immediately restricts your access to that type of post. On Twitter, for example, if you mute a word, you will no longer see most content related to it. Likewise, if you are not interested in a specific account and give block in it, the algorithm will remove from its timeline all interactions and posts by that user, failing to suggest options that are similar to him.
Instagram is one of the apps that allow you to block accounts — Photo: Reproduction/Rodrigo Fernandes
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