TikTok Reportedly Working on AI Influencers That Will Create Content for Advertisers


TikTok, the popular short video platform, is reportedly working on adding artificial intelligence (AI)-powered virtual influencers to the platforms. These AI influencers will post content for advertisers and sellers on the platform, as per the report. TikTok is said to be adding script-reading capabilities to these influencers, which can be generated using a prompt, or come as marketing copies from the advertisers directly. This move could turn out to be controversial if this leads to ad deal scarcity for the creators on the video streaming platform, as this is one of the only methods for them to generate revenue.

According to a report by The Information (via The Verge), the company is developing an AI technology to generate virtual influencers that would appear in videos to promote and sell products and services for advertisers and sellers. Citing unnamed sources, the report revealed that TikTok has started discussions with advertisers to see the interest in this feature. It is said that the feature is still in the early stages of development and plans could change in the future. The feature is also reported to be extended to TikTok Shop sellers.

From the advertisers’ perspective, this feature could be a great tool to get more control over the nature and type of content as well as the kind of AI influencers that would fit the role. This could potentially also reduce costs for them, although this cannot be confirmed at the moment. However, from the perspective of the existing creators on the platform, this could pose a major threat to their revenue generation.

Creators on TikTok were given a severe blow last year when the platform announced that it was shutting down its creator fund that promised to disburse $1 billion (roughly Rs. 8,340 crores) to creators in the US, UK, Germany, and France, as per another report by The Verge. While the company replaced it with a Creativity Programme, it reduced earning opportunities for many. Now, if AI influencers are introduced to compete for the same pool of advertiser money, it could further reduce opportunities for creators.

Notably, the report does highlight that TikTok previously tested a similar AI avatar feature and found that the virtual characters were not able to attract similar ecommerce sales as their human counterpart. However, the company is said to still hold the belief that AI creators can complement the human creators on the platform.

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