I think it's actually that they believe they can create an algorithm that will keep you coming back. It clearly works. People want to be entertained, often by their friends, often by things that interest then. This algorithm based on _your input_.
You can absolutely manipulate the feed. Search for 12 yoga based people, click on 12 yoga based hashtags, and then watch your feed become yoga-ified for the next few days as the algo adjusts to keep you coming back.
You can incidentally manipulate the feed. But its clearly not intentional behavior; the recommender system naturally operates on the belief that you're using the services without considering the recommender system. You can manipulate the system to something specific by breaking that assumption, but all you've done is essentially exploit a bug. Its clearly not a feature. And in a perfect world, the recommendation system would realize you're lying to it, and discard that behavior, and serve you what you really want.
your input is expected to be natural consumption of the service, with limited, abstracted forms of feedback, but otherwise without knowledge of the recommender system judging your every move. You don't edit the results, you don't play with ordering, you ideally don't even search too much out of your defined subject range (lest it skew horribly and fuck up all your recommendations, like your yoga example).
>I think it's actually that they believe they can create an algorithm that will keep you coming back. It clearly works.
But this I agree with; it's a better understanding of what I was trying to get at.