Can companies now buy AI that powers TikTok?

Image Credit: ByteDance

ByteDance’s new division BytePlus is reportedly selling TikTok’s artificial intelligence technology to other companies. Does that mean anyone can now use the magic TikTok algorithm?

Businesses can now get a slice of the TikTok magic by buying TikTok technology. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has begun selling the AI technology behind the social media app’s algorithm for other companies to use.

According to the Financial Times, the sale of the artificial intelligence that powers TikTok means we could now start to see elements of the formidable TikTok recommendation algorithm in other places on the web, too. ByteDance, meanwhile, has since denied that rumours of the sale is true.

TikTok’s algorithm is the main factor behind the social media platform’s astonishing rise over the past few years. As anyone who’s downloaded the app will tell you, it’s addictive. The algorithm is notoriously intuitive, effortlessly adapting to what its user wants to see, and the never-ending scroll tempts you to flick through endlessly, always thinking something even better lies in wait.

Last year TikTok revealed a taste of its secret sauce in a blog post. It revealed that the For You feed is unique to each user based on factors such as likes and shares; what kind of content users create; video information such as which sounds are used; user and device settings. The recommendation system then weighs the factors based on their value to the user, and is constantly learning as the user explores the app.

ByteDance’s new division BytePlus launched without fanfare in June and already has clients that include WeGo, Goat and GamesApp, alongside TikTok. The company website offers the chance to buy services such as real-time augmented reality effects, machine translation, personalised recommendation algorithm, and analytics insights.

Recently TikTok announced the introduction of longer videos up to three minutes in length on the app, shaking up the short-video format that has been in place since launch.

The Financial Times reported that any developer can now purchase the technology to personalise their apps and services for each individual customer. Given TikTok’s highly addictive design, its alarming news for anyone who values their productivity. That powerful algorithm applied anywhere on the web? Scary stuff.

I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

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