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According to Netflix, 80% of the content its users watch stems from its personalised content recommendations system. For YouTube, it’s responsible for 70% of the time its users spend on the platform. But is it impossible to escape these suggestions?

Erase your history

content recommendations

Cookies, small files that allow the websites you visit to track your activity, are used to provide data to recommendation algorithms. The more cookies you’ve accumulated, the more information they can collect. As you may have noticed during your internet browsing life, cookies are everywhere! In the face of growing worry among internet users, Google (and thus YouTube) has created a function that allows your history to be erased automatically by modifying your settings. You can also do this on Facebook in order to renew the personalised content recommendations based on your search history from the time you opened your account.

Turn off autoplay

Automatic playback is a goldmine for Netflix and YouTube, as it accounts for a large portion of the time you spend on their platforms. If you’d like to be less passive about the content you see, don’t hesitate to deactivate autoplay from time to time.

Choose your own categories

content recommendations

Netflix suggests about ten movie categories to each user based on what they’ve already watched and what has been watched by users with similar profiles. In reality, there are more than 200 categories. It’s actually possible to access all of these categories directly via lists available online. Once you’re connected to Netflix, you have only to head to that platform and click on the category of your choice! You’ve got whole worlds of foreign films, dark comedies, and 17 different drama categories.

Use a VPN

content recommendations

Even better than navigating in hidden mode, a VPN is a software program which masks your IP address with a random one. This prevents cookies from tracking you and knowing where you’re located. Be warned, however, that while having a VPN may be legal in your area, it does not allow you to sidestep laws to do things that are illegal.

All images: Courtesy Getty