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The Delphi

The Student News Site of Delaware Valley Regional High School

The Delphi

The Student News Site of Delaware Valley Regional High School

The Delphi

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Snapchat AI harms more than it helps

A+screenshot+of+what+appears+to+a+user+when+opening+Snapchats+Chatbot.
Josalyn Walker
A screenshot of what appears to a user when opening Snapchat’s Chatbot.

Snapchat implemented an AI “friend” for every user called Chatbot, and there are many gaps as to where this data is going.

Chatbot serves the purpose of responding rapidly to chats that are sent by users, while also having the ability to open snaps, analyze the images and respond back to them. 

However, Snapchat has gone on record saying, “My AI may answer incorrectly, provide biased answers or note it is unsure of the answers so don’t rely on its advice,” which brings up the question, what is the genuine point of creating this AI?

Unlike other AIs, Chatbot will be inconsistent with not only the answers it provides, but also the tone in which it responds. 

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Do you find Snapchat's AI to be helpful to users?

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On Aug. 17, 2023, the AI was seemingly hacked, posting a short and inaudible video to its story, which is not a feature allowed by the AI program. The auto response was also either turned off entirely or responses were slow and personable, instead of robotic. Snapchat offered no further details and no explanation other than describing this as a “temporary outage” after this incident, while trying to quickly put this behind them.

If choosing to disable your location on Snapchat or turning it off entirely, typing “What is my location?” to the chatbot will often result in your current location being repeated back to you, which isn’t information the AI should have access to. Snapchat has been criticized before due to the unclear and vagueness within their response to whether the chatbot can attain and access private information, like the location of the user. 

…they say they do it because it’s a cool engagement tool, and maybe that’s true… but also scraping data from their users and selling that to third parties is much more lucrative.

— Ryan Murphy

“It’s pretty fair to never assume that every company is doing something charitably, so things like Snapchat AI, they say they do it because it’s a cool engagement tool, and maybe that’s true because increasing engagement would increase their profits, but also scraping data from their users and selling that to third parties is much more lucrative,” said Del Val Computer Science teacher Ryan Murphy.

Snapchat users cannot get rid of the chatbot unless they sign up for the Snapchat Premium subscription, which forces users to pay if they want to get rid of the intrusive features that this AI automatically offers. 

Snapchat AI is invasive and it’s important to know what information this “built-in friend” could have access to, whether you’re aware of it or not.

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About the Contributor
Josalyn Walker, Reporter
Josalyn is a sophomore first-year reporter for "The Delphi." In her free time, she plays soccer and basketball here at Del Val. She is also in the Biomedical Academy and loves to spend time with her friends and family.
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