Serious Discussion AdGuard Blog: ‘My AI’ is not your friend: How Snap’s AI chatbot spies on you and fuels ad targeting

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Snapchat users are accustomed to the idea that most messages, be they texts or snaps, sent in individual chats are deleted by default from Snap’s servers once they’ve been viewed or expired. At least, that’s what Snap’s privacy policy promises. It’s somewhat tempting to transfer this logic to My AI, the company’s own ChatGPT-powered chatbot. First introduced in February this year as a purple-skinned, AI-powered character that can “recommend birthday gift ideas for your BFF, plan a hiking trip for a long weekend, suggest a recipe for dinner” and more, My AI was pitched as a friend that you can shoot a message anytime, anywhere, such as when you’re feeling lonely or bored.
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Snapchat’s My AI chatbot may seem like a fun and friendly way to get tips and entertainment from an AI-powered avatar, and a blue one at that. But behind the scenes, Snap is analyzing your chats to serve you personalized ads that may be invasive or inappropriate. This may make you feel violated, especially since My AI is touted as your friend, not a marketing tool.

Moreover, Snap does not make it easy for you to delete the data collected by My AI, which shows that it has little regard to your privacy and cares predominantly about its ad revenue, which is expected to soar with its adoption of AI. There are some ways to mitigate the privacy risks, such as deleting your chats or opting out of location sharing, but they are not foolproof and may not take effect right away. So, before you chat with My AI, you need to ask yourself: is it really worth it? The answer may be different for everyone, but one thing is clear: you should be careful what you tell your chatbot helper, or it can tell on you.
 

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Snap's My AI chatbot may be viewed as a fun and friendly way to interact with an AI-powered avatar, but behind the scenes, Snap is analyzing your chats to serve personalized ads. This invasion of privacy shows that Snap cares mostly about its ad revenue, expected to soar with the adoption of AI. Mitigating privacy risks by deleting chats or opting out of location sharing may not be foolproof or immediate. Therefore, users of My AI need to be careful about what they tell their chatbot in order to avoid being exposed to invasive or inappropriate ads.
 
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Gandalf_The_Grey

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UK watchdog alerts: Snap’s AI chatbot jeopardizes privacy, especially for children
My AI, Snapchat’s AI-powered chatbot, is not safe for users, especially children, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), has warned.

“The provisional findings of our investigation suggest a worrying failure by Snap to adequately identify and assess the privacy risks to children and other users before launching ‘My AI,’” the watchdog said on October 6.

Released in February and rolled out to all Snapchat users in April, the bot is integrated directly into the app’s interface. Sitting on top of your chats with friends, it cannot be removed or unpinned from its vantage point (unless you have a Snapchat+ subscription).

In its statement, ICO did not reveal about how exactly My AI chatbot, powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, (allegedly) violates the privacy of millions of Snapchat users, about 20% percent of whom are teenagers aged 13-17. However, these alleged transgressions were serious enough for the ICO to note that unless Snap explains itself to the watchdog, it may be required to shut down My AI in the UK “pending … an adequate risk assessment.”

So, what is wrong with My AI, the chatbot with a smiley face and a blue hue? Well, quite a lot.
 

ashok.silwal

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Nov 6, 2019
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Snap's My AI chatbot may be viewed as a fun and friendly way to interact with an AI-powered avatar, but behind the scenes, Snap is analyzing your chats to serve personalized ads. This invasion of privacy shows that Snap cares mostly about its ad revenue, expected to soar with the adoption of AI. Mitigating privacy risks by deleting chats or opting out of location sharing may not be foolproof or immediate. Therefore, users of My AI need to be careful about what they tell their chatbot in order to avoid being exposed to invasive or inappropriate ads.
It's always a trade-off between using a free service and sacrificing some privacy. I always advise folks to be super cautious about what they share online, especially with chatbots.
 

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