Remember when Apple decided it was going to download a U2 album into everybody’s iTunes account whether they wanted it or not? Remember how that went really, really badly–so badly that Bono was still apologizing for it in 2022, eight years after it happened?
Well, you might remember, but apparently Snap doesn’t, because it’s now doing the same thing, but with AI.
The platform is seeing significant backlash from users after it pinned “My AI,” its new chat tool powered by OpenAI‘s GPT, to the top of users’ chat feeds, with no way to remove it.
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Snapchat describes My AI as “an experimental, friendly, chatbot” who is “there to help and to connect you more deeply to the people and things you care about most.” Basically, it can do a variety of tasks, from Google Search-level question-and-answer about locations in your area to “writing” things like songs (though it’s specifically barred from writing academic essays, FYI) to processing a photo of a garden and generating a recipe based on the produce growing there.
Say hi to My AI, our new chatbot located at the top of your chat. Write a song for your bestie who loves cheese, find the best IYKYK restaurant, or Snap it a photo of your garden to find the perfect recipe. Now free for all Snapchatters. #SnapPartnerSummit pic.twitter.com/U2KdozuWQz
— Snapchat (@Snapchat) April 19, 2023
My AI launched in February 2023 and was originally restricted to Snapchat Plus subscribers. It didn’t make a lot of waves then (aside from that thing where My AI gave concerning advice to a user it thought was a teenager). The trouble came when it launched wide to all users last week.
Since then, Snapchat has seen a major spike in one-star reviews in the App Store, according to data from analytics firm Sensor Tower reported by TechCrunch.
Sensor Tower found there were five times more reviews for Snapchat left in the last week than in previous weeks, and 75% of those new reviews were one-star. And, probably unsurprisingly, AI was a top-mentioned keyword across the negative comments. The review bomb has dropped Snapchat’s overall rating to 1.67. (It was an average of 3.05 across Q1 2023, with around 35% of reviews being one-star.)
Apptopia also reported seeing a one-star spike. Its data showed that the phrase “AI” was mentioned 2,973 times in reviews posted over the last seven days, making that the No. 1 keyword in Snapchat reviews.
Reviewers aren’t shy about laying out exactly why they’re giving Snapchat one star. Some cite ethical or safety concerns with My AI. Some just want a way to remove it from their chat list. Others are opposed to Snapchat’s overall decision to use AI.
“Why can’t I block it,” one wrote.
“Nobody at all wants AI on Snapchat,” said another.
“The new ai feature is so annoyingly stupid and the fact that I don’t have the option to delete it is even worse,” a third wrote.
So, how is Snapchat responding to these complaints?
A spokesperson told TechCrunch that if users don’t like My AI, they don’t have to use it.