Snapchat My AI accesses user location data

Occurred: April 2023

My AI, a ChatGPT-powered chatbot launched by Snapchat, was discovered to be accessing users' location information and data, fueling concerns about its impact on user privacy and potential for surveillance.

Software engineer David An used a prompt injection to reveal that the bot is provided with data showing where the user is located and the local time. In addition, he found that My AI's instructions state 'Do not mention the user’s current location unless it’s particularly relevant to the dialogue.' 

And Insider journalist Jordan Hart persuaded the system to tell him his nearest pharmacy, which it did to within a few hundred yards. Snap responded by saying 'My AI understands a Snapchatter's age, and location if it has been granted by them.'

April 2023's full launch of Snapchat My AI met with mixed reviews, with Snapchat users complaining that it appeared on their apps without advance warning or requiring their consent, while some described it as 'creepy'.

Operator: David An; Jordan Hart; Snapchat users
Developer: Snap Inc
Country: USA; Global
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Provide information, communicate
Technology: Chatbot; NLP/text analysis; Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Privacy; Surveillance
Transparency: Governance; Black box; Privacy

Research, advocacy 🧮