Rumored: AI-generated avatars are in the works at TikTok

AI-generated images and avatars are taking off at Snapchat. Is it TikTok's turn?
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
TikTok logo on phone
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AI avatars are becoming more popular with social media companies, as Snapchat recently rolled out generative AI backgrounds and an AI-powered chatbot. But the latest social platform to use AI avatars could be TikTok, according to social media consultant Matt Navarra. 

Also: The 5 biggest risks of generative AI, according to an expert

In a Twitter thread, Navarra shows how TikTok's AI avatar creator works. If you've used Lensa AI to create avatars of yourself, TikTok's avatar generator looks very similar. However, TikTok's AI avatar creator is an in-app experience with two tiers: Lite or Plus, and can be used once a day.

You can submit three to 10 photos of yourself and choose up to five different styles for your avatar. Navarra says that after generating the images, you can download them and set one as your avatar or add it to your TikTok story.

Also: The best AI art generators

It's unclear which AI model TikTok is using. If the company is using an in-house model, it's unclear how that model is being trained. But Navarra's Twitter thread discloses that TikTok will delete your submitted photos after you choose an avatar, something it must be very conscious about as the app's fate in the U.S. lingers in the hands of U.S. lawmakers.

There are many generative AI photo generators out there, and late last year, Lensa went viral as many people used it to create cool portraits of themselves. But AI-generated images are a contentious piece of tech in the art world, as generators pull from already-existing art, sparking controversy over copyright issues.

Also: What is generative AI and why is it so popular?

According to The Verge, TikTok says its AI avatar generator is only available in select regions and is still a work in progress. It's still being determined when this feature will be available to the public if it will require a subscription, and what technology is behind the generator. 

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