"I want it gone."
Snapchat users are making it very, very clear that they can't stand the feature's new AI chatbot companion.
The AI feature — dubbed "My AI" — had been available to paying Snapchat subscribers (yes, some people apparently pay for Snapchat) for several weeks, but was finally deployed to the app's general user base last week. And according to TechCrunch, data from Sensor Tower shows that over that last week, Snapchat's average US app store review was a measly 1.67 stars.
To add insult to injury, an overwhelming 75 percent of all reviews were just one star — a sharp turn from Snapchat's Q1 2023, which saw an average star rating of 3.05 stars.
In a word: ouch.
Snap has marketed the new bot as a harmless, helpful companion; per a tweet from last week, My AI is simply a friend designed to do things like "write a song for your bestie who loves cheese, find the best IYKYK restaurant," or help you "find the perfect recipe."
"The big idea is that in addition to talking to our friends and family every day, we're going to talk to AI every day," Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel told The Verge back in February. "And this is something we're well positioned to do as a messaging service."
All fine and good. But while writing songs for besties who love cheese can certainly be counted as benign chatbot behavior, the AI has also sparked concerns regarding both user safety and user privacy.
As one Washington Post writer discovered last month, the bot will talk to users about drugs, sex, and alcohol — even if and when a user overtly states that they're underage, as many Snapchat users are — and has stoked additional alarm over app users' location data.
"The AI from the new update is really scary. It knows my location and I have my snap map and location off!!" reads one of Snap's recent app store reviews (which, interestingly, actually awarded five stars), per TechCrunch. "THESE NEED TO BE GONE IMMEDIATELY PLEASE. They are dangerous!!"
If there's any moral here? Maybe, just maybe, not every app on this green Earth needs an unnecessary AI integration. Your investors might love it, but your users might absolutely hate it, and try to burn the whole company to the ground via one-star reviews in the process.
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