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Snap CEO Evan Spiegel on a ban on TikTok: ‘We’d love that.’

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Evident at the Snap Partner Summit is that the company is drawing out all the stops to retain its Gen Z user base on the platform. Snapchat, like essentially every other social media app, rolled out its own short-form video feed and creator program in response to TikTok’s massive growth. But as U.S. lawmakers debate a total prohibition on the TikTok app, it should come as no surprise that the ban would benefit companies such as Snap and Meta, which appear to be the most threatened by TikTok’s popularity.

When asked by journalist Kara Swisher if he believes TikTok should be banned, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel responded, “We’d love that.” The audience responded with applause and whoops to Spiegel’s audacious remark; hey, at least he’s being honest.

Spiegel also acknowledged the precedent that would be set for other social platforms if Congress were to successfully prohibit TikTok. Due to the Chinese ownership of TikTok, the company’s reputation among U.S. government officials has been negatively affected.

Spiegel stated onstage that it is essential for us to be thoughtful and construct a regulatory framework to address security concerns, particularly those involving technology. “Based on the publicly available information, I believe there are legitimate national security concerns that are well above my pay grade.”

ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, has access to the data of U.S. TikTok users, but there is no evidence that Chinese government officials have done so.

Snap’s TikTok competitor, Snapchat Spotlight, now has 350 million monthly users, which is still behind TikTok, which surpassed 1 billion monthly users in 2021, and YouTube Shorts, which reports 1.5 billion monthly logged-in viewers. Snap continues to invest significantly in AR and AI experiences, as revealed at the Partner Summit.

The platform emphasizes how augmented reality (AR) technology can help drive both online and in-store retail sales since consumers can use AR to try on clothes and accessories (although the technology is not yet sophisticated enough to allow you to see how different sizes will fit on your body, so a traditional dressing room is still required). TikTok has not been very successful in e-commerce in the West; however, Snap’s shopping-specific augmented reality (AR) products may make it more appealing to brand partners and consumers.

Snap’s rapid development comes at a cost, and the company is no stranger to safety scandals. Regarding AI, Snap must exercise caution. If government regulators are concerned about adolescents carrying TikTok in their pockets, what risks does the fact that all Snapchat users now have access to an artificial intelligence chatbot within the app pose?

“I believe that whenever humans encounter new technology, we immediately attempt to break it,” Spiegel said.

Spiegel stated in his keynote that 99.5% of My AI responses adhere to community guidelines, but it’s simple to see how the remaining 0.5% could become very messy. All Snapchat users have access to the text chatbot, but only Snapchat+ subscribers can submit photos to an AI chatbot that will respond with its own images. Snap presented an example in which a user sent a photo of a tomato plant to My AI, which then suggested a tomato soup recipe.

TechCrunch asked a Snap employee who worked on My AI what would happen if, for instance, a Snapchatter attempted to send My AI nude images. The employee stated that the AI is programmed not to respond in kind, but rather to inform the user that it will not engage with such content. On apps such as Lensa AI, however, it was too simple to fool the program into generating NSFW content. We’ll see how Snapchat handles that.

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Vishal kanojiya is a journalist with more than two years of experience in digital journalism. he specializes in business and technology beats. Currently, he is an Author & Cheif Editor of Techbatti

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