skip to Main Content
TikTok Begins Testing AI Chatbot Tako

TikTok Begins Testing AI Chatbot Tako

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital innovation, AI chatbots have been steadily gaining traction. A major player in this space is TikTok, which is currently testing its own AI chatbot named “Tako”.

Initially identified by app intelligence firm, the chatbot will be a prominent feature on the TikTok interface, designed to provide personalised recommendations and answer user queries.

This exciting development is presently undergoing limited trials in select global markets.

The Introduction of Tako

Located above the user’s profile and other buttons for likes, comments, and bookmarks, Tako encourages users to interact with the platform in a more intuitive way.

With Tako, users can delve deeper into the content they’re viewing or explore new suggestions tailored to their preferences. For instance, during a video about the Aurora Borealis, Tako could prompt users to question, “What causes the Northern Lights?”

Similarly, if users are in the mood for a certain genre but don’t know where to start, they could ask Tako to recommend videos on specific themes, like uplifting travel vlogs. Tako would then generate a curated list of videos, complete with the title, creator, subject matter, and links to recommended videos.

A New Path to Market Expansion?

TikTok confirmed the tests in an official statement. “Being at the forefront of innovation is core to building the TikTok experience, and we’re always exploring new technologies that add value to our community,” a TikTok spokesperson stated.

“In select markets, we’re testing new ways to power search and discovery on TikTok, and we look forward to learning from our community as we continue to create a safe place that entertains, inspires creativity and drives culture.”

Although initially reported to be found on iOS devices in the U.S., TikTok clarified that the bot isn’t publicly available in the U.S. yet.

It is undergoing trials in other markets, including an early limited test in the Philippines. Minors’ accounts will not have access to the bot.

Behind the scenes, TikTok is leveraging a yet undisclosed third-party AI provider that is customised to suit its needs. This adaptation doesn’t involve the use of any in-house AI technologies from TikTok or its parent company, ByteDance.

Privacy Concerns

Upon first launch, TikTok informs users via a pop-up message that Tako is considered “experimental” and its feedback “may not be true or accurate.”

This cautionary advice is standard for modern AI chatbots, including others like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s AI.

TikTok emphasises that the chatbot should not be relied on for medical, legal or financial advice.

Furthermore, all interactions with Tako will be reviewed for safety purposes and, more ambiguously, to “enhance your experience.”

This vagueness is a common challenge with AI chatbots as companies review customer interactions to improve their bots. From a privacy perspective, it means AI conversations are not automatically deleted once the chats end, which poses potential privacy risks.

TikTok has sought to address this by allowing users to manually delete their chats, following similar steps taken by Snapchat with its ‘My AI’ chatbot.

However, it’s not yet clear if Tako logs data associated with the user’s name or other personal information. The long-term data retention policies and privacy aspects of the chatbot remain to be determined.

Disrupting Dominance

TikTok believes that its AI chatbot could serve a function beyond answering video-related queries.

The bot could present an alternative method for users to discover content within the app, providing a new way to search beyond traditional boxes. If successful, Tako could pose a challenge to Google’s dominance, especially as Gen Z users are increasingly turning to TikTok and Instagram as their primary search destinations for specific subjects.

Looking Forward

Tako represents a significant development in the application of AI within social media platforms. Its successful implementation could redefine how users interact with content, offering a personalised, responsive experience that rivals traditional search methods.

As TikTok continues to innovate, the future of AI chatbots like Tako will undoubtedly shape the user experience on digital platforms, creating a new standard in content discovery and engagement.

Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca is our AI news writer. A graduate of Leeds University with an International Journalism MA, she possesses a keen eye for the latest AI developments. Rebecca’s passion for AI, and with her journalistic expertise, brings insightful news stories for our readers.

Recent AI News Articles
Amazon - Anthropic
Back To Top