26th May 2023

POV: TikTok Tests AI Chatbot


TikTok is testing its own AI chatbot called ‘Tako’ that can help users discover and search for content.

Details and Implications:

TikTok is the latest platform to introduce AI to its offering with its very own AI chatbot called 'Tako’. The chatbot is designed to help users discover “entertaining and inspiring content” on the app and is currently in limited tests with select users in the Philippines.

The chatbot will be accessed from the right-hand side of the screen, above the user’s profile and other buttons for likes, comments and bookmarks. Tapping it opens a chat screen where users can ask Tako various questions about the video they’re watching or discover new content by asking for recommendations.

Tako will display suggested prompts to help a user start a conversation with the bot. For instance, when watching a video of King Charles III’s coronation, Tako might suggest that users ask, “What is the significance of King Charles III’s coronation?”.

Users looking for inspiration for what to watch can ask Tako to suggest videos on a particular topic and Tako will respond with a list of results that include the video’s name, author, and subject, as well as links to suggested videos. From here, users click on a video’s thumbnail to go the content.

In a statement about its new AI bot, TikTok said: “We’re always exploring new technologies that add value to our community. 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.”

When users first launch Tako an advisory pop-up message appears. The disclaimer informs users that Tako is an experimental chatbot and that responses could be inaccurate. TikTok says it will review conversations with Tako for safety purposes and warns users not to share private information with it.

It is understood that TikTok is not planning to release Tako for minors’ accounts.

TikTok’s Tako AI bot is similar to Snapchat’s ‘My AI’ bot which is powered by ChatGPT and launched last month. It is unclear which AI model TikTok is using to power Tako, nor if it will be widely released after the initial experiments.


TikTok sees the potential of its chatbot extending beyond video-related queries, providing a different way for users to surface content in the app without having to type into a search box. TikTok and Instagram are often the first place Gen Z users go to search for more information, and if this initial AI experiment turns into a full roll out, it will give Gen Z another intuitive way to find information.

Further Reading:

AdAge | Reuters | Social Media Today | TechCrunch | The Verge

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