Meta bets on AI chatbots to retain users

Meta is planning to release AI chatbots that possess human-like personalities, a move aimed at enhancing user retention efforts.

Insiders familiar with the matter revealed that prototypes of these advanced chatbots have been under development, with the final products capable of engaging in discussions with users on a human level. The diverse range of chatbots will showcase various personalities and are expected to be rolled out as early as next month.

Referred to as “personas” by Meta staff, these chatbots will take on the form of different characters, each embodying a distinct persona. For instance, insiders mentioned that Meta has explored the creation of a chatbot that mimics the speaking style of former US President Abraham Lincoln, as well as another designed to offer travel advice with the laid-back language of a surfer.

While the primary objective of these chatbots will be to offer personalised recommendations and improved search functionality, they are also being positioned as a source of entertainment for users to enjoy. The chatbots are expected to engage users in playful and interactive conversations, a move that could potentially increase user engagement and retention.

However, with such sophisticated AI capabilities, concerns arise about the potential for rule-breaking speech and inaccuracies. In response, sources mentioned that Meta may implement automated checks on the chatbots’ outputs to ensure accuracy and compliance with platform rules.

This strategic development comes at a time when Meta is doubling down on user retention efforts.

During the company’s 2023 second-quarter earnings call on July 26, CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlighted the positive response to the company’s latest product, Threads, which aims to rival X (formerly Twitter.)

Zuckerberg expressed satisfaction with the increased number of users returning to Threads daily and confirmed that Meta’s primary focus was on the platform’s user retention.

Meta’s chatbots venture raises concerns about data privacy and security. The company will gain access to a treasure trove of user data that has already led to legal challenges for AI companies such as OpenAI.

Whether these chatbots will revolutionise user experiences and boost Meta’s ailing user retention – or just present new challenges for data privacy – remains to be seen. For now, users and experts alike will be closely monitoring Meta’s next moves.

(Photo by Edge2Edge Media on Unsplash)

See also: Meta launches Llama 2 open-source LLM

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