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Innovation

TikTok is testing an in-app AI chatbot with some users

TikTok is working on its own AI chatbot. Here's what you need to know.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
TikTok app
Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

AI chatbots have permeated virtually every app across every industry. However, social media has been one of the slowest areas for in-app chatbot integration. 

The only attempt so far has been Snapchat's AI-powered chatbot, which was an entire flop. Now, TikTok decided it wanted to give generative AI a try too. 

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TikTok's chatbot, named Tako, has been undergoing user testing in the Phillipines. 

Watchful.ai, the app intelligence firm which initially discovered the testing, posted images of TikTok's AI chatbot which show Tako will live on the top of the right hand bar when scrolling through videos on TikTok. 

TikTok Tako testing image
Watchful.ai

Another image shows an example of a user using the chatbot to learn more about a video that came up on their FYP regarding King Charles III's coronation. 

Tako trial screenshot
Watchful.ai

TikTok confirmed the testing via Twitter saying, "We're in the early stages of exploring chatbot tools with a limited test of Tako with select users in the Philippines. Tako is an AI-powered tool to help with search and discovery on TikTok."

From that statement, it is clear that one of TikTok's major purposes for the chatbot is to drive more views and engagement to its own content. 

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In the Tweet, TikTok also added that there are currently no plans for the chatbot besides testing, so it doesn't seem like we will be seeing that chatbot in the app anytime soon.

"We're always exploring new technologies that add value to our community," said TikTok to ZDNET in a statement. "With select users, 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."

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The caution TikTok has surrounding the launch of the app likely relates to how poorly Snapchat's AI integration was received by the public. 

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