Meta is developing artificial intelligence-powered chatbots with conversational technology for Facebook, Instagram, and its other social media platforms to increase engagement.
According to Financial Times’ new report, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was leading the work on designing prototypes of range of chatbots which are internally called “Personas” to impersonate human voices to speak to users and recommend travel options, styling tips, recipes, and other content.
Scheduled to launch as early as September, the new AI-powered chatbots will enable Meta to take advantage of generative AI tech like ChatGPT and compete with rivals like TikTok to boost engagement on its platforms.
However, it appears that Meta’s Persona chatbots could threaten users’ privacy by collecting personalized data which it could not on iOS because of App Tracking Transparency (ATT).
Meta “Personas” could undo iOS App Tracking Transparency by collecting personalized data
Introduced in iOS 14.5, ATT made it mandatory for all apps to seek users’ permission to track their activity across third-party apps and websites. This prevented digital marketers like Facebook and Instagram from invasive tracking to collect users’ data to show them personalized ads.
Since the release of ATT on iOS, Meta has reported a significant decline in revenue. So, Personas chatbots could be a way for the company to undo ATT and collect users’ personalized data.
“On top of boosting engagement, chatbots could collect vast new amounts of data on users’ interests, said experts. That could help Meta better target users with more relevant content and adverts. Most of Meta’s $117bn a year in revenues come from advertising.”
Access to users’ personal information like interests and search raises privacy concerns. Ravit Dotan, an AI ethics adviser and co-founder of the Collaborative AI Responsibility lab at the University of Pittsburgh said:
“Once users interact with a chatbot, it really exposes much more of their data to the company, so that the company can do anything they want with that data. The developments raise concerns around privacy as well as potential “manipulation and nudging”, she added.
The report also mentions that the tech giant is likely to face scrutiny from experts over the content generated by the AI-powered chatbots like showing bias or sharing “hallucinations” (dangerous material or misinformation).