AI Girlfriend Ads Are Reportedly on the Rise on Instagram, TikTok

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AI Girlfriend Ads Are Reportedly on the Rise on Instagram, TikTok


Social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have struggled to maintain strict content moderation policies, particularly concerning explicit ads, which include AI “girlfriends” with provocative appearances.

Despite efforts to ban nudity and remove content related to sexual health and safety, a new wave of sexually suggestive content has infiltrated their platforms in the form of advertisements for chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI), according to NBC News.

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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – APRIL 26: In this photo illustration, the logos of social media applications Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Messenger, Hyperlapse and Telegram are displayed on a cellphone screen on April 26, 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Explicit Ads Include AI ‘Girlfriends’ With Provocative Appearances

Numerous tech startups have reportedly shown explicit advertisements on these platforms, promising “not safe for work” (NSFW) experiences. These ads market apps that offer explicit images, custom digital characters, and uncensored chats, often featuring digitally created female “girlfriends” with provocative appearances.

NBC News reported that it uncovered 35 app developers running sexually explicit ads on platforms owned by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram. These developers collectively ran over 1,000 such ads. Additionally, 14 app developers were found showing similar ads on TikTok. 

However, NBC News reported that it remains unclear how many of these ads were visible to users in the US, as TikTok’s ad library only provides transparency for ads in Europe.

The surge in AI-driven explicit content advertisements reflects a broader trend within the tech industry, capitalizing on the growing interest in AI-powered chatbots. This interest spiked with the popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT product, which demonstrated the capabilities of AI chatbots.

While Meta and TikTok did take measures to remove sexually explicit AI ads upon NBC News’ notification, the tactics employed to bypass content filters initially remain unclear.

Read Also: New AI Model Can Change Person’s Age in Images While Keeping Their Unique Identifying Features

Google’s Response

The proliferation of these advertisements extends from social media platforms to the Apple and Google app stores. However, according to NBC News, the exact scale of advertising on these platforms remains undisclosed, as these tech giants do not divulge information about their advertisers.

Google has affirmed its app store’s policy against services designed for sexual gratification and subsequently suspended specific apps and ads that were brought to light by NBC News. On the other hand, Apple has not yet issued a statement regarding this matter. 

The AI chatbot companies running these ads are generally small and less-known tech startups, with many based abroad. According to the report, some lack detailed information and disclose only an email address.

While the idea of combining chatbots with romance or sex is not new, it remains unclear how extensively these apps utilize advanced AI capabilities. They offer users various features, including generating NSFW images or engaging in explicit storytelling.

Despite the prevalence of such advertisements, the circumstances surrounding their approval and moderation on platforms like Meta and TikTok differ from their strict enforcement against human content creators.  

Related Article: Theoretical Physicists Call AI Chatbots Just ‘Glorified Tape Recorders’ as Fear of Artificial Intelligence Dies Down

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