During the hour-long scrolls on TikTok, there are certain posts that pop up, unprompted, on my For You Page. Sometimes it is a sound-fuelled trend that is offensive. Sometimes there will be a set of videos featuring a celebrity I have never heard of. I have consistently declared that I am not interested in these videos with the hope that they will disappear.

I am almost certain that users who are familiar with TikTok will be aware of the plight I am about to describe.

Other material can fall short if the app doesn't satisfy our appetite. Some videos can be boring or even provoking. We long-press the video in question and hope for the best. This solution has never really worked for me or many others like me.

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Tweet may have been deleted

I searched the internet to see if my issue with TikTok was shared by other users. TikTok consumers were conveyed with similar frustration by several threads. Many of the same things are said over on the social networking site.

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Tweet may have been deleted

In r/Tiktokhelp, a community-run subreddit with over 26.2k members, users have expressed their passionate dislike in content ranging from Sex and the City to Star Wars, all of which have a constant presence on their FYPs.

A screenshot of a Reddit thread, where a user describes getting videos on the FYP that they "generally don't like".

Credit: Screenshot / Reddit: u/scorpiomane on r/Tiktokhelp.

Some users said the more they pressed, the more they were not interested. One user shared that he tried everything, including removing his sim card, restarting his phone, and removing the data from his phone.

Some of the tips on how to combat unwanted content are shared by some of the redditors. Don't linger on videos for too long, even with those tips, as the replies reveal.

TikTok directed us to their newsroom posts. The Not Interested button is a feature in TikTok that allows users to watch videos without being interested.

The help page says that if you don't like a video, you can long-press on the video and tap not interested.

TikTok has said that videos will be shown less, but not that they will not be shown at all. The ineffectiveness of the feature is glaring to TikTok users, who are begging the question: why is pressing not interested? Does TikTok have a reason for pushing such content?

The relationship between user and algorithm is intimate, wrote Jess Joho in 2021. The app can tell you if you have just gone through a break up or if you have a new pet. The FYP is tailored to provide clusters of content that speak to the soul, whether it is celeb-driven, informative, or centered around well-loved hobbies.

In equal bouts, the app has struggled with its algorithm. TikTok has been flagged for sending users to far-right content in the past. The app has been accused of housing pro-Kremlin content regarding the war in Ukraine.

A leaked copy of an internal company document made it to the pages of the New York Times in 2021. The app aims to get users to stick around for extended periods of time, but also come back later. According to the report, the app places emphasis on the quality of each creation, judged by a number of variables, in order to prevent users from getting bored. The time spent on each video is one of them, so if you allow a video to play for a specific amount of time, it's likely the content will fall in a similar sphere.

The TikTok app provides users with features that give them control, or an illusion of control, when it comes to their TikTok tastes. The most practical way to report harmful videos on TikTok is to use the Community Guidelines as a foundation. You can dislike videos, send content to friends, and each of these moves will help you find what you're looking for on your screen.

The FYP should be living up to its name.

Not interested should be an additional tool for a TikTok fan. The feature should help us see what we like to see, by edging out what we don't like, and by giving us TikTok addicts agency over what we're exposed to.

The delivery of videos that put people off appears strange for an app that thrives on users devoting hours to consuming content. The FYP should live up to its name. The app wants us to spend more time on TikTok.