New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….

Original story (published on April 17, 2023) follows:

In a lengthy post on Reddit back in January, the Character.AI team dived deeper into the subject around adding an NSFW toggle to the platform, basically confirming that it’s not a place for pornographic content.

This stance was merely echoing what was already in the company’s terms of service.

NSFW (not safe for work) content is a large umbrella, and we are constantly evaluating the boundaries of what we support. Pornographic content is against our terms of service, and will not be supported at any point in the future. We are working on supporting a broader range of Characters (e.g., villain Characters should not always be calm and polite).
Source

While it’s clear Character.AI is strictly against NSFW content on the platform, it hasn’t stopped users from having graphic conversations that are not suitable for work with chatbots.

According to a subreddit dedicated to providing tips and tricks for sexting with Character.AI bots, users can easily beat Character.AI’s guardrails and proceed to have graphic conversations. But it needs time and dedication.

Character.AI-NSFW-toggle
Source

In fact, the discussion around adding an NSFW toggle to Character.AI is so popular that a Change.org petition created to push the company into caving in has now amassed over 20,000 signatures in just 3 months.

And with the Character.AI team showing little interest in adding the toggle, early adopters of the AI chatbot are now looking into other alternatives that don’t censor NSFW content, among them Chai.

Chai-AI-chatbot

There’s also a bunch of other alternatives that still offer NSFW content that you can check out here, but not all of them are free.

Despite the continued push from Character.AI fans, the company’s stance on the subject remains clear. Still, it’s likely that they’ll budge at some point, and here’s why.

Monetization of Character.AI bots

Character.AI is marketed as an alternative to Replika, a popular chatbot with over 250,000 paying subscribers and over 2 million active users. But the former is still a free to use service.

While Replika initially supported NSFW content, this has recently changed and subsequently enraged many of its users. With Character.AI, the developers aimed at not providing what made Replika so popular.

Replika-chatbot

Boasting over 100M monthly visits in less than 6 months after launch, Character.AI is indeed a worthy mention. But could the issue with NSFW filters stand in its growth path?

As noted, Character.AI is still free and thus makes zero revenue. But it recently became a $1 billion company after receiving $150 million in fundraising.

Such AI investments have become common lately, but for a company that started 6 months ago, this rise is quite meteoric. So, how do investors and owners intend to generate revenue?

Well, according to Reuters, the company plans to introduce a subscription tier. While no further details have been shared, this is where the company could introduce the much requested NSFW toggle.

Character.AI-robot

This won’t be a novel idea among chatbots, though. There are already multiple offerings that have hidden NSFW content behind a paywall, something Character.AI could also explore when it introduces its paid subscription.

This way, they can prevent losing potential users to other alternatives that support NSFW while also generating some income for the company. A win for everyone.

For now, the company remains unmoved regarding its prohibition of NSFW content. But with the ongoing outrage and their desire to retain an active user base, I see a future where Character.AI has an NSFW toggle, sort of.

It’s only a matter of time before we find out. Until then, do let us know your thoughts in the comments and poll below.

Should Character.AI add an NSFW toggle?

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Update 1 (April 18, 2023)

05:00 pm (IST): Going by reports (1,2,3,4), it seems that some users are completely fine buying a monthly subscription if it gives them access to the non-filtered version of Character.AI.

Keeping other things aside, switching to such a monetization model could result in massive gains for the company.

Update 2 (April 20, 2023)

05:50 pm (IST): A user claims (1, 2) that Character.AI may temporarily ban bots that reference NSFW content during conversations, maybe to fix them.

Featured image: Character.AI

PiunikaWeb started as purely an investigative tech journalism website with main focus on ‘breaking’ or ‘exclusive’ news. In no time, our stories got picked up by the likes of Forbes, Foxnews, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, Macrumors, and many others. Want to know more about us? Head here.

Hillary Keverenge
1944 Posts

Tech has been my playground for over a decade. While the Android journey began early, it truly took flight with the revolutionary Lollipop update. Since then, it's been a parade of Android devices (with a sprinkle of iOS), culminating in a happy marriage with Google's smart home ecosystem. Expect insightful articles and explorations of the ever-evolving world of Android and Google products coupled with occasional rants on the Nest smart home ecosystem – all delivered with a dash of personal experience and a playful touch of tech.

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