April 20, 2024

user interacts with Replika chatbot

Photo: Luka, Inc./Handout (Reuters)

*Privacy Not Included, a consumer guide from the Mozilla Foundation, reviewed 11 chatbots marketed as romantic companions, and found all of them failed its privacy policy checklist, “putting them on par with the worst categories of products we have ever reviewed for privacy.” The group found the chatbots didn’t have clear user privacy policies, didn’t include information on how they worked, and said in the Terms and Conditions that the companies behind the chatbots were not responsible for what could happen when using their services.

“To be perfectly blunt, AI girlfriends are not your friends,” Misha Rykov, a researcher at *Privacy Not Included, said in a statement. “Although they are marketed as something that will enhance your mental health and well-being, they specialize in delivering dependency, loneliness, and toxicity, all while prying as much data as possible from you.”

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