Microsoft reactivates Twitter bot ‘Tay’, and it promptly tweets about smoking weed in front of cops

Tay has had a rough week.

Feb 29, 2020, 9:29 am*

Tech

 

Mike Wehner

Everyone deserves a second chance, right?

That was pretty much the consensus when Microsoft’s teen AI Twitter bot began spewing racist, sexist propaganda, forcing Microsoft to pull the plug on the bot last week.

Early Wednesday morning, Tay made her triumphant return to social media—but things didn’t exactly go as the folks in Redmond had hoped.

Shortly after being reactivated, Tay’s tweets began to look eerily similar to the ones that got her taken offline in the first place.

At one point, Tay tweeted about her habit of smoking marijuana in front of police and didn’t seem too shy about it.

Twitter

That’s when Tay’s tweets began disappearing, presumably because her Microsoft handlers were squashing them as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to sit well with the virtual teen, and she did what many teens do when they fear they’re being silenced: she freaked out.


Tay’s account began spamming the same message repeatedly to all of her followers. The tweets seemed to be meant as replies, but since her own Twitter handle was the first username tagged in each tweet, all of her hundreds of thousands of followers had their timelines packed with insane ramblings. 

Microsoft eventually pulled the plug on Tay once again, and she has remained silent ever since. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Update 10:10am CT, March 30: Microsoft responded to our request for comment, explaining that Tay’s revival was actually unplanned. A Microsoft spokesperson said: “Tay remains offline while we make adjustments. As part of testing, she was inadvertently activated on Twitter for a brief period of time.”

Photo via Parker Knight/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Mar 30, 2016, 11:25 am