Friend or Foe? – Snapchat Releases New AI Feature Powered by ChatGPT


Kavya Chettur, Staff Writer

Have you ever wanted an online friend who can “answer a burning trivia question, offer advice on the perfect gift for your BFF’s birthday, help plan a hiking trip for a long weekend, or suggest what to make for dinner?” If yes, meet Snapchat’s newest feature: the My AI chatbot! 

Just last Wednesday, Snapchat, a popular American multimedia platform used by people of all ages worldwide, introduced this previously Snapchat+ subscriber-only feature to its users. Customizable from head to toe, My AI is an AI tool powered by the viral ChatGPT, which according to Snapchat, is there “to help and to connect you more deeply to the people and things you care about most.” If mentioned with an @ symbol in Snapchat group chats, it can be added to group chats and join in on your conversations.

Most Snapchat users, however, don’t appreciate the new addition. According to TechCrunch, Snapchat’s average U.S. App Store review over the past week was “1.67 stars, with 75% of reviews being one-star, but in the first quarter of 2023, the Snapchat average U.S. App Store review was 3.05 stars, with only 35% of reviews being one-star.” Maybe it’s because people are hesitant to change or because, as BBC claims, its responses “may include biased, incorrect, harmful, or misleading content.”

So, what do people really think about it? Here are some THS students’ honest opinions about the new addition to Snapchat.

Sophomore Meredith Ho thinks “the Snapchat AI is a little creepy, but at the same time cool and helpful. It’s a little odd how they added an AI feature to a social media app where AI should not be needed, but [she] enjoys playing around with it and using it to help [her] find song recommendations.”

Another sophomore, Anoushka Chakrabarti, feels that “AI is pretty unneeded on Snapchat. [She] thinks that it’s fun and AI is trending right now, but [she] also thinks there is room for it to go wrong.” Sophomore Johhna Junn added that “it is constantly pushing for more information about yourself. For example, it asked me how I was, and when responded, it immediately asked ‘what are you doing that’s good?’ Then, when I was eating an apple, it even wanted to know what kind of apple I was eating!”

A clear example of My AI overstepping its boundaries is Sophomore Kate Situ’s story of a traumatizing experience with My AI that’s made her never want to talk to it ever again. “I am terrified of My AI because I was in the shower and closed my eyes to wash my face, and I saw My AI standing outside the shower door! I started crying because it’s not supposed to be life-sized but it was!” In addition to prodding more information, people are shocked to learn that Snapchat’s AI knows their location, even if the users aren’t sharing their location on the Snap Map.

Another student claims she “doesn’t want to accept [the new feature]” and “doesn’t like how you can’t get rid of it at the top of your friends list.” For those unfamiliar, My AI is pinned to the top of users’ Chat feed inside the app and can’t be unpinned, blocked, or removed, unlike other conversations. 

So, how does the My AI feel about all these negative reviews?

Despite conflicting opinions on the increasingly incorporated AI chatbots on social media platforms, there is no denying they are here to stay. At the end of the day, each person has the freedom to make his or her own decisions, and those reluctant to embrace the new technology have the choice to do as they please. But, are the creepy location-sharing or the random group chat entrances here to stay? How will we handle this going forward?