Facebook owner Meta is preparing to launch a range of artificial intelligence-powered chatbots that exhibit different personalities as soon as next month, in an attempt to boost engagement with its social media platforms.
The tech giant led by chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has been designing prototypes for chatbots that can have humanlike discussions with its nearly 4bn users, according to three people with knowledge of the plans.
The move comes as the $800bn company seeks to attract and retain users while it battles competition from social media upstarts such as TikTok, and attempts to seize upon widespread hype in Silicon Valley around AI since Microsoft-backed OpenAI launched ChatGPT in November.
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.
“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,” said Ravit Dotan, an AI ethics adviser and researcher.