Popular instant messaging app Snapchat has received a flood of bad reviews after the public launch of “My AI,” its artificial intelligence-powered chatbot.
According to data accumulated by TechCrunch, around 75% of Snapchat’s reviews over the past week have been one-star, leading to an average US App Store review of 1.67 during the period.
This is in stark contrast to the app’s reviews in the first quarter of the year, when its average US App Store review was 3.05, with only 35% of reviews being one-star.
An analysis by Apptopia, an app analytics and intelligence service provider, further shows that the “AI” keyword was mentioned 2,973 times in Snapchat’s App Store reviews over the past seven days.
The firm has given the term an “Impact Score” rating of -9.2, the TechCrunch report said, adding that this Impact Score is a weighted index that measures the effect a term has on sentiment and ranges from -10 to +10.
More specifically, Snapchat reportedly received around three times more one-star ratings than usual on April 20, 2023, one day after the public launch of its My AI chatbot.
Why My AI Chatbot Prompted User Backlash
The My AI chatbot, which was initially available to subscribers of Snap’s premium service, allows users to chat with an AI entity.
Considering the hype around AI, the addition of an AI chatbot to Snapchat’s social app would have been thought to be a smart move.
However, the main reason behind the increasing backlash is ostensibly related to My AI’s placement.
The chatbot has been pinned to the top of users’ personal inboxes, the space where most Snap users interact. Furthermore, it cannot be unpinned, blocked, or removed, as other conversations can be, making it even more frustrating for users who simply want to use the platform for personal interactions.
Moreover, Snapchat is already inside users’ feeds with its own “Team Snapchat” chats, and it is doubling the space it takes with the new AI chatbot feature.
“Can we have the option to delete it? Asking for the majority of us who didn’t request this feature,” one Twitter user said, while some others called it “annoying.”
Truly what is this, AOL instant messenger 2001?
— Rob (@SeHablaRob) April 19, 2023
Some users mentioned that the feature should be opt-in only or that they should be given the option to remove it. Many have also lashed out at the company, noting that removing the My AI from their Chat feed requires a Snapchat+ subscription.
Snapchat’s My AI is Also Invasive
It is worth noting that Snapchat’s AI seemingly has access to users’ locations and can use that information in its responses, even if they’re not sharing their location on the Snap Map.
This post on fb is so creepy!! Absolutely just no, we don’t want it ‼️ pic.twitter.com/TsPYeOtAmO
— Madison Carroll (@MadisonCarroll0) April 21, 2023
“In a way, the AI bot is surfacing the level of personal data collection that social media companies do in the background, and putting it directly in front of the consumer,” TechCrunch said.
Furthermore, Snapchat stores the conversations users have with the AI chatbot in order to review them, which further increases privacy concerns.
Aside from Snap, other social media platforms like Facebook’s parent company Meta have also faced backlash over attempts to monetize private messaging in WhatsApp and Messenger.
Back in 2016, Meta added Messenger Bots as a means to encourage people to interact with brands, and other entities in the app. However, after more than a year of the bot push, the platform started scaling back the effort after a reported 70 percent failure rate.
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