Snapchat’s new “My AI” feature has sparked an outcry from users, causing the app’s rating to plummet on the App Store. The feature is an AI chatbot based on OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology that can talk to users, answer questions, and provide advice and recommendations. However, many users found the feature to be mandatory, impossible to remove or block, and sometimes giving inappropriate or harmful content.
“My AI” was launched in February and was initially only available to users with a paid subscription to Snapchat +, a $3.99 per month (currently about RMB 28) premium service that offers some additional features and benefits. Last week, at Snapchat’s annual partner summit, the company announced that it was making My AI free to all users and adding some new capabilities. For example, My AI can now join group chats and use location information from Snap Map to suggest nearby locations for users. In addition, My AI will soon be able to reply to users’ messages with images generated entirely by AI.
However, these new features have not pleased users and have led to more complaints. On the App Store, Snapchat’s rating has dropped from 3.05 in the first quarter to 1.67 in the past week, with 75% of the ratings being one star. On Twitter, many users have also expressed their dissatisfaction with My AI, asking Snapchat to remove the feature or give users the option to do so. Some users have even threatened to uninstall Snapchat because they find My AI too annoying or scary.
Some users found that My AI seemed to know exactly where they were, even if they didn’t share their location on Snap Map. This made them feel that My AI was secretly collecting their personal data and using it in conversations. Other users are concerned that My AI may give inappropriate or harmful content, especially to minors. According to the Washington Post, when My AI was only available to paid subscribers, the bot was found to be giving advice on alcohol, marijuana and sexuality to users as young as 15 or 13.
Snapchat said that My AI is an experimental feature and is being improved and refined. The company also said that users can give their feedback and suggestions to the team by long pressing on the My AI response. Snapchat has also introduced security tools, such as age filters, to ensure that My AI responses are more age-appropriate, and has promised to introduce parental controls. However, these features will not be ready when My AI is fully open.
Snapchat has also said that if users don’t like the My AI feature, they can opt out of it. However, the feature is currently fixed to the user’s chat screen and cannot be un-topped, blocked or removed unless the user subscribes to Snapchat+. This has made some users feel that Snapchat is forcing them to pay for a subscription in order to get rid of the “My AI” nuisance.
My AI” would have been a smart move for Snapchat, as there are many AI chatbot applications on the market that attract many users and revenue. However, Snapchat did not take into account the needs and feelings of their users and randomly added an experimental feature to their app, which led to a backlash from users. Perhaps Snapchat should revisit the design and positioning of My AI and make it a useful and fun friend rather than an annoying and scary stranger.