Toutiao’s AI software did not generate this headline, but for the 20 million pieces of content that flow through the platform each day, headline generation and AB testing are just two of the AI services Toutiao uses to get more people tapping.

Speaking to foreign journalists for the first time as head of the Jinri Toutiao AI Lab and vice president of the app’s owner Bytedance, Dr. Ma Wei-Ying talked about the tech that his lab is working on, why it has a bot that generates fake news and what it knows about its users.

Jinri Toutiao is a news recommendation app that is trained and updated in real time on a user’s behavior. Unlike search engines, Ma pointed out, its search function is individual rather than one ranking for everyone.

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...