Snapchat introduces AI chatbot to mixed reviews
Snapchat has introduced its own AI chatbot to mixed reviews, with some criticising its prominence on the social media app.
It is powered by OpenAI’s GPT – the same tech that is being integrated into Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
The feature, dubbed My AI, is pinned to the top of users’ chat feeds and only paid subscribers can remove it.
This has led to criticism online, with confusion emerging over how the app uses location data.
Snap called My AI “an experimental, friendly, chatbot” which can perform tasks such as answering questions, offering advice, or planning trips.
But it conceded the tool may not always be accurate, and its responses “may include biased, incorrect, harmful, or misleading content”.
My AI has been rolled out to millions of users globally, having first been introduced to paid subscribers.
By paying for Snapchat+ – which costs £3.99 per month in the UK – users gain access to customisation features including pinning and unpinning features, including My AI.
A Snap spokesperson told the BBC the “vast majority” of people with early access to My AI had been enjoying it, with millions of messages sent per day.
“We’ve appreciated all the feedback from our passionate community as we continue to improve the experience.”
Location, location, location
In the US, some disgruntled users “review bombed” the app, with news site Techcrunch reporting Snapchat faced a series of one-star reviews on Apple’s App store.
But in the UK, the reviews have been more measured.
While there are critical app store reviews, some of these are from users complaining that they are unable to access the feature.
There has been a lot of praise for it, and a trend has emerged with UK users asking it to rank footballers, or to name the best player in the Premier League.
Snap has also been criticised for being unclear over whether the chatbot can access private information – such as location data.
In response, Snap has written a blog post covering how location data is used in My AI, and clarified the chatbot “does not collect any new location information” from its users.
“Snapchat can only ever access your location if you consent to share it,” it said.
In addition, it said it had updated My AI to “clarify when it is aware of a Snapchatter’s location, and when it isn’t”.
“Privacy is a foundational value for us – it is critical to our core use case of helping people visually communicate with their friends and family,” it said.
“Across our app, we seek to minimise the amount of data we collect and aim to be as transparent as possible with our community about how each of our products uses their data.”