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Re-tuning algorithms: a practical guide to resetting our digital life

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Re-tuning algorithms: a practical guide to resetting our digital life

We spend online about 6 hours a day: we mostly use search engines, social networks, music or streaming platforms. These are services that all work more or less in the same way: based on our interests, whether declared or not, they suggest new content to us.

Over time, it can happen that the quality of our navigation is lowered and that the suggestions of the algorithms of social networks and platforms in general seem less centered to us. It can happen because we have changed tastes, because maybe the system is no longer able to identify our interests or because some of the profiles we follow they have stopped posting content that we like.

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It is in these moments that it can be useful to reset the digital life. It is a method, also suggested in an article published by The Vergewhich allows us to re-tune our online services, to make them more suitable for us and our tastes.

Let’s start from a general consideration, and then go on to analyze service by service what can be done in practice. Underlying the need for a reset is there a dissatisfaction with suggestions algorithmic, of what we see when we are online. For this reason, the first thing to do, especially on social networks, is to make an assessment of the profiles we have decided to follow: there may be pages that have stopped post interesting content or that in any case no longer interest us as before and therefore we can stop following to clean up what we see.

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The second, deeper step has to do directly with the functioning of the platform algorithms. These systems are programmed to suggest content to us that we like based on interests that we express both explicitly and implicitly, through interactions and visualizations. Fortunately, most of the most used platforms in our country (except for TikTok) allow to interveneto varying degrees, on the information we provide, to allow us greater control of our feed.


Let’s start with Google, whose search results can be influenced by past interests. To take a look and change them just click (from Chrome on browser or smartphone) on the icon with your photo at the top right and select Manage your Google account; from here, Data and privacy and then Personalization of ads. A screen will open that summarizes the demographic and interest characteristics of the user: to delete some of them, just do it click and select Disable (here we had explained the procedure in detail).


We stay in the Alphabet universe with YouTube, which can be retuned through the video history management seen. Just go to the section Collection to view your viewing activity: from there, you can delete the content we are no longer interested in. If, on the other hand, a more radical approach is required, always from the chronology it is possible both delete everything either to set automatic deletion every 3, 18 or 36 months.


Let’s now move on to the Meta galaxy, starting with Facebook. In the case of the social network co-founded by Mark Zuckerbergfrom the app it is very easy to access, through the Settingsto section Time spent on Facebook. From here, by clicking on See your time on Facebookafter selecting Activity log, it is possible to review everything that has been done within the platform: canceling an activity means retracting an attestation of interest. It’s a way of telling the algorithm that that page, that person, or that kind of post doesn’t concern us that much anymore.


On Instagram, on the other hand, there is primarily a mode for quickly clean up the list of profiles that you follow: just go to your page, then click on Followed e Users with whom you interacted less. This list can provide a first indication to clean up the feed.

Going up instead Settingsda Advertisements you can quickly and easily access the Ad Topics: these are the consumption categories in which Meta has entered the user, based on activity on Instagram and Facebook. Also in this case, you can choose to delete the topics that do not interest us: the system will save the preference for both social networks.

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Similar speech regarding Twitter: enough access from Settings a Privacy and security and then to Content you see. From this section it is possible to review the interests that the system has attributed to us, and eventually eliminate those that for some reason do not represent us.

Streaming services

As for streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus o Amazon Prime Videothe procedure is always more or less the same, similar to that of YouTube: just access (preferably from the Web) the account settings and then open the viewing history, which Netflix for example calls Recent streaming activity. From here, it is You can delete content that we may not have liked (how to do it we explained it here)so as to avoid seeing similar suggestions in the future.

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