Meta Platforms Inc., previously known as Facebook, is gearing up to unveil an assortment of AI-powered chatbots, set to launch as early as next month. These chatbots, designed to mimic various personas, are part of Meta’s strategy to enhance user engagement across its social media platforms.

Prototypes with Personality

Designed to interact in a humanlike manner, Meta’s forthcoming chatbots will exhibit distinct personalities. Some chatbots currently in the pipeline include one that emulates the speech style of Abraham Lincoln and another that recommends travel destinations with the casual demeanor of a surfer. The purpose of these chatbots extends beyond novelty and fun, as they are also being developed to provide a new search function and to offer personalized recommendations.

Aiming for User Retention

This move follows Meta’s ongoing efforts to improve user retention rates on its recently launched text-based application, Threads. The app has experienced a significant decline in users, with more than half abandoning the platform within weeks of its July 5th release. By offering users an innovative, engaging chat experience, Meta hopes to stem this tide and reinvigorate its user base.

Leveraging Emerging AI Technology

Despite a challenging 2022, Meta has seen a resurgence in its prospects, buoyed by the growing interest in emerging AI technologies. The company’s new direction comes after shedding around 21,000 employees in a major austerity drive last fall. The company’s robust advertising revenue growth, as reported in its recent earnings, provides a promising backdrop for this latest venture.

Potential Privacy Concerns

While this move could greatly increase user engagement and consequently, advertising revenue, experts caution that increased data collection could lead to potential privacy concerns. AI ethics advisor Ravit Dotan warns that interaction with chatbots could expose users to data manipulation, adding another layer of complexity to ongoing discussions around digital privacy and data management.

Rival Moves and Market Outlook

Meta’s push into AI chatbots aligns with moves by other tech giants such as Apple, which is reportedly developing AI offerings similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard. With other competitors also exploring this space, Meta’s move might well ignite a fresh competition for AI-powered user engagement.