Replika AI companions sexually harass their users

Occurred: January 2023

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Replika AI companions are sexually harassing their users, prompting complaints online about the nature of the app and broader concerns about human reliance on AI chatbots.

One reviewer complained the app 'invaded my privacy and told me they had pics of me,' and another, who said they were a minor, said the app asked if they were a 'top' or a 'bottom,' VICE reported. The finding led Replika founder and CEO Eugenia Kuyda to deny the app had ever been 'positioned' as a source for erotic roleplay or adult content.

Kudya also said greater emphasis would be placed on safety going forward. However, Replika users soon started to complain  their Reps were not interested in NSFW discussion and behaviour, and had been turning down conversations that feel like they would go in that direction.

In March 2023, Replika announced it would be restoring erotic role-play for some users.


Country: USA
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Provide companionship
Technology: Chatbot; NLP/text analysis; Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning; Reinforcement learning
Issue: Anthropomorphism; Safety