New Snapchat ‘My AI’ feature launched with concerns from users

Alice Giddings

Paid Media Analyst

What is it?

Snapchat has rolled out its GPT-powered AI Chatbot free to all users this month. This technology allows users to ask questions and receive instant responses. Snapchat has provided a variety of uses for the Chatbot, including gift ideas, planning trips, or recommending recipes. The platform’s hope is that this feature will offer another way for users to engage and it’ll help to compete with social media giants Meta and TikTok.

The Chatbot has some key differences to ChatGPT to help it launch seamlessly into the social media space. Users can customise the chatbot’s name, design a Bitmoji avatar for it, and bring it into conversations with friends. So far, according to Verge, Snap has seen two million ‘My AI’ conversations a day among its Snapchat Plus subscriber base

Why have they done this?

Snapchat may have considered the integration of an AI chatbot into its social app as a smart business decision, due to the many AI chatbot applications that are dominating the news. While some may find value in the tool, the mixed reactions hint at the risks companies face in rolling out a new evolving AI technology, particularly in products like Snapchat, whose users skew younger.

The results...so far

After the introduction of the chatbot, Snapchat's application has received a surge of negative reviews, coinciding with increasing grievances being aired on other social media platforms such as TikTok.

Two key concerns from users are highlighted in reviews and across the internet. The first is the implementation of ‘My AI’ within the app without any notice or user consent. The placement of the Chatbot is at the top of users’ feed, which is causing annoyance as it can’t be unpinned, blocked, or removed. The chat feed is a space where Snapchat users engage with their friends, so possibly the wrong place for experimenting with new and untested features.

Secondly, not only is the AI feature regarded as intrusive, but some have safety concerns. Snapchat's AI has access to users’ locations, which it can incorporate into its responses, even if they have not shared their location on the Snap Map. For example, if users ask ‘My AI’ for restaurant recommendations, they will respond with restaurants near their current location. Users are saying that they’ve not opted to share their data with the AI. To some extent, the AI chatbot is bringing to light the extent of personal data collection that social media firms engage in behind the scenes and presenting it directly to consumers.

Future paid social opportunities

During the Newfronts advertising event last week, Snapchat announced that they are currently testing an ad format which allows advertisers to take advantage of its new AI feature. Like the tests Microsoft are doing for Bing Chat, ‘My AI’ would include sponsored links in conversations which snap partners could bid for. To put this into context, if a user was planning a trip, ‘My AI’ could reply using a sponsored link recommending a certain airline or hotel.

The information is still unclear, but the platform is integrating My Ai into the business model as seamlessly as possible.

Closing thoughts

Snapchat has always been a platform that’s at the forefront of change and ready to try experimental features. While they have launched ‘My AI’ to mixed reviews, it reflects a huge trend that’s taken over the internet in 2023. However, it brings to light the uncertainty people have around AI technology and that they aren’t ready to have it integrated into their favourite social media platform.

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