Snap Launches an AI Chatbot; Canada Bans TikTok on Government Devices; Target Reports Slim Sales Growth



Snap Launches an AI Chatbot; Canada Bans TikTok on Government Devices; Target Reports Slim Sales Growth


By guest author Nat Ives from the Wall Street Journal.

Good morning. Today, Snapchat warns users not to overshare with its new AI-powered chatbot; another government squeezes advertiser darling TikTok; and a retailer reports reasons for caution on consumer spending.


Snap Inc. became the latest company to unveil a new artificial-intelligence feature, introducing an experimental chatbot powered by OpenAI’s buzzy tech, Meghan Bobrowsky writes.

The My AI chatbot, which is available to users who subscribe to Snapchat’s $3.99 a month subscription service, is designed to help answer user questions and generate ideas in the chat tab on the app.

Snap said mistakes could occur with its chatbot (as they have for others).

“My AI is prone to hallucination and can be tricked into saying just about anything. Please be aware of its many deficiencies and sorry in advance!” the company said.

It also warned: “Please do not share any secrets with My AI and do not rely on it for advice.”

More AI: Elon Musk is looking into developing an alternative to the AI tech behind ChatGPT, which he has criticized for having safeguards meant to avoid offending users. [The Information]


Canada Ban


A TikTok representative said the company is disappointed by Canada’s decision. PHOTO: GABBY JONES/BLOOMBERG NEWS


Canada followed the lead of the U.S. and European Commission and banned TikTok from government devices, citing an “unacceptable” level of risk to privacy and security by the app, a favorite of marketers trying reach young people.

Some U.S. and European lawmakers and officials have expressed concern that Beijing could force TikTok to hand over data on its users, or to influence the videos they view, Paul Vieira writes.

TikTok said it is “always available to meet with government officials to discuss how we protect the privacy and security of Canadians, but singling out TikTok in this way does nothing to achieve that shared goal.”


Target Results

Target said slower sales growth and rising operating costs hurt its profit in the most recent quarter, as shoppers continued to spend cautiously with inflation hitting their budgets, Sarah Nassauer reports.

More shoppers visited Target stores in the fourth quarter, but spent differently than last year, the company said.

Strong sales in food, beauty and essentials such as paper towels are offsetting weaker consumer spending in other categories, he said.

It “continues to be a very challenging environment,” CEO Brian Cornell said.

Some good news: Target said it continued to make progress in reducing the glut of inventory created by pandemic-related supply and demand imbalances.

Keep Reading

Models walk down the runway at the Prada show in Milan. COURTESY OF PRADA


Four fashion brands are showing a path to sales through economic uncertainty. [WSJ]

Mustaches are back, and brands are moving to take advantage. [Glossy]

A non-alcoholic beer marketer is pitching its new coffee blend as a “pre-workout” drink. [Ad Age]

Chipotle this week will add a viral TikTok ordering hack to its official menu. [Insider]

The 1971 ad that depicted a Native American shedding a tear over pollution is being retired. [NYT]

The Supreme Court will consider the independent funding system that Congress designed for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. [WSJ]

A Penguin Random House imprint said it won’t publish “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams’s coming book “Reframe Your Brain.” [WSJ]

The second-week decline for the new “Ant-Man” is the latest sign that the Marvel movie franchise may be getting fatigued. [WSJ]