You’ve Googled Mutual Assurance to get a phone number, and suddenly your Facebook, Instagram Reels, and YouTube recommendations are flooded with insurance ads. You’ve hovered a bit too long over an ad for a wrinkle treatment, and suddenly every wrinkle treatment known to mankind is in your feed.
Algorithms used by social media sites are what make them so popular with advertisers and many consumers. Your likes, comments, and search history help them determine which types of posts you are more inclined to interact with. Sometimes that can seem a bit creepy, and sometimes confusing. You find yourself believing these algorithms can do more than they should -"Did I do a search for staplers or did they read my mind?"
When your feed gets to the point that you aren’t seeing what you want or too much of one thing, it is time for a reset. Here’s how you can manage suggested content directly in each app’s feed.
Use TikTok’s Refresh feature to reset your feed. You may not have access to this feature yet – it is still in the testing phase – but wait a little while and you’ll be able to use it.
In the interim, you can click on Content Preferences > Refresh your For You Feed, and you’re done.
Instagram suggests posts based on who you follow as well as the posts you’ve liked, saved or commented on. You can adjust your feeds in one of two ways:
View Your Feed in Chronological Order
Click on the inverted carrot next to the Instagram logo and a small drop-down menu will appear:
Home: this is the algorithmic feed where Instagram reorders your photos and videos based on what it thinks you’ll want to see and interact with the most.
Following: this is a chronological feed of all the accounts you follow, with the latest posts at the top. Surprisingly, there are fewer posts to see using this feature, as most people don’t post every day.
Favorites: this shows you a feed of just the people you deem as favorites. You can add up to 50 contacts to this list.
You can also tap the three dots next to any post and select “not interested” which tells the algorithm you don’t want to see similar content.
Another option is to “snooze” suggested content for 30 days. You can also select specific words, phrases, and emojis – though they would need to be in the post’s caption for the filter to catch them.
To manage Facebook suggestions, tap the three dots in the post’s top right corner, then tap “show more” or “show less.” You can also tap “hide post” to see fewer like it.
You can also manage your favorites, so they appear at the top of your feed, and snooze any poster for 30 days.
Twitter: Open Settings and Privacy > Privacy and safety > Content you see > Interests. You can add or remove topics by selecting topics instead of interests.
You can also get Twitter to exclude posts with certain words, phrases, usernames, emojis, or hashtags. In iOS, open Settings and privacy > Privacy and safety > Mute and block > Muted words > Add. In android, tap the notifications tab > gear icon > muted words.
You can stop a specific video or channel from being recommended using the “not interested” and “don’t recommend channel” buttons. You may still see the topic or viewpoints, however, so, as YouTube says, you don’t get trapped in an “echo chamber” or similar opinions.
To clear your search history, click your username at the top right of the page > Your Data in YouTube > Manage your YouTube Search History > Delete > Delete all time > Confirm.
If you don’t want to delete your entire history, just some of it, you can choose “Custom range” and define the period you want to delete.
Over time, your recommendations will start again based on your search history. If you want to permanently prevent YouTube from using what you want to provide suggestions, you can disable watch and search history.
Click the profile icon > Your Data in YouTube > YouTube Watch History and click the field labeled ‘on’ > Choose Turn off > Confirm.
You can also opt to uncheck either the "Include the YouTube videos you watch" or "Include your searches on YouTube" boxes. This will prevent your watch or search history from being used to influence recommendations.
YouTube still recommends videos when you do this; it just doesn't use your past behavior to offer personalized suggestions. You'll instead see recommendations based on the current video, your location, trends, and similar.
Sources: MakeUseOf.com, WSJ,