May 29, 2024
Snapchat's 'My AI' chatbot faces UK data watchdog warning over privacy risks

Snapchat Faces Regulatory Scrutiny in the UK for ‘My AI’ Chatbot Privacy Risks

The United Kingdom’s data watchdog has issued a warning to Snapchat regarding its new AI chatbot called ‘My AI,’ according to an announcement made by the regulator. On October 6th, the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued a preliminary notice to Snap Inc. and Snap Group, the parent companies of Snapchat. The notice is based on a provisional investigation conducted by the watchdog, which suggests that the privacy risks associated with the chatbot were not adequately assessed before its launch, potentially affecting several million My AI users, including those aged 13–17.

John Edwards, the U.K.’s information commissioner, emphasized the importance of organizations considering both the risks and benefits of AI. He stated that today’s preliminary enforcement notice shows we will take action to protect U.K. consumers’ privacy rights.

According to the notice, if a final enforcement notice is issued, Snap may be required to halt data processing related to My AI. This action would prevent them from offering the service to users based in the U.K. without a proper risk assessment. It’s worth noting that the ICO has not yet reached a conclusion in its investigations.

Snapchat introduced its AI chatbot to Snapchat+ users in the U.K. in February 2023, with broader availability starting in April 2023. My AI utilizes OpenAI’s GPT-4 technology and is described by the data watchdog as the “first example of generative AI embedded into a major messaging platform in the UK.”

Throughout the year, major social media platforms have incorporated AI features into their operations. On October 4th, LinkedIn, a business-focused social media platform owned by Microsoft, announced the availability of additional AI tools for recruiters and introduced an AI assistant in its learning center. Notably, prominent tech giants like Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram) and Google have also disclosed their integration of AI chatbots into their service offerings.

Image by freepik

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