- The popular brief video service TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance Ltd., is reportedly testing a new chatbot powered by artificial intelligence.
- The Tako privacy disclosure states that any collected information is shared with unnamed third-party service providers.
TikTok, the popular short video service, which ByteDance Ltd. owns, is reportedly testing a new chatbot powered by artificial intelligence.
The chatbot is named Tako and, in its present iteration, is described as an “experimental chatbot” that can answer queries and engage in conversations with users, as first reported by Bloomberg. The initial version of Tako warns users that because responses are generated by artificial intelligence, they may not be true or accurate and should not be relied upon as medical, legal, or financial advice.
A representative for TikTok verified that the service is evaluating Tako, stating that the company is considering “new ways to power search and discovery on TikTok” in select markets. The spokesperson said, “We are always exploring new technologies that add value to our community. We look forward to learning from our community as we continue to create a safe place that entertains, inspires creativity, and drives culture.”
Those with access to Tako can use the AI chatbot by tapping a small “ghost-like” icon in the upper-right corner of the app’s screen. However, how broadly the service is being tested is still being determined. The user is then directed to an immediate messenger to submit their queries. According to reports, Tako also provides content recommendations based on the user’s interests and preferences.
The Tako privacy disclosure states that any collected information is shared with unnamed third-party service providers. Users are permitted to delete their data but are cautioned against sharing personal information.
Who the third-party service purveyors are is unknown. They could range from advertisers to third-party AI service providers. It is plausible that TikTok has partnered with an existing AI company to provide some or all of Tako’s capabilities.
It is not uncommon for TikTok to use a third-party AI supplier for the service. Still, the vast majority of businesses are not under the intense scrutiny of politicians determined to prohibit them based on allegations that the Chinese government has access to the information they collect.