People were baffled after a new AI chatbot from TikTok shared a weird message that no one could interact with or erase. The popular video sharing app started rolling out its in-app chatbot, Tako, to all its users last week after several months of testing.
According to several reports, millions of TikTok users received the unsolicited “TikTok Tako” notification in their inboxes, but many were left stunned by a chat they couldn’t open or get rid of.
The notification made it look like users had a new unread message in their DMs. But when people opened their inboxes, they found a message from “TikTok Tako,” the chatbot with a logo of a blue ghost outline and white eyes.
Tako ‘driving me insane’
Several people took to X, the platform previously known as Twitter, to try and understand the cryptic message from TikTok.
“Wth is TikTok Tako, and why did we all randomly get it at the same exact exact time? Wth is happening?” one user asked.
Another wrote, “Now who the hell is TikTok tako?’”
And yet another person quipped, “Does anyone else have TikTok tako in their inbox right now with notification but you can’t open it?
In response, someone else said, “The fact I can’t open it is driving me insane”.
A warm welcome for TikTok Tako pic.twitter.com/8ShiHNPJn8
— Jules Terpak (@julesterpak) November 2, 2023
Other TikTokers questioned whether the social media platform, which is used by 1.1 billion people worldwide every month, needs an AI chatbot at all.
“Do we really need another AI chatbot? It’s starting to feel like when platforms started copying stories,” one person complained.
What is TikTok Tako?
TikTok did not immediately comment on the confusion caused by its random message from the new AI chatbot. However, TikTok revealed in May that it had started testing a ChatGPT-like chatbot called “Tako” in the Philippines.
The Chinese company said Tako would appear on ‘the right-hand side of the TikTok interface, above the user’s profile and other buttons for likes, comments, and bookmarks.’ People can ask the chatbot anything, it said, including queries about the video using natural language.
For example, when watching a video of King Charles’ coronation, which was held earlier this year, TikTok Tako might suggest that users ask, “What is the significance of King Charles III’s coronation?” They could even prompt Tako for what videos to watch.
1/ 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.
— TikTokComms (@TikTokComms) May 25, 2023
TikTok reportedly allows people to delete their conversations in Tako, in line with its privacy policies. However, last week’s release was anything but a spooky introduction of Tako to a bemused audience.