Bots on Snapchat: Why So Many?

Here’s why there are so many bots on Snapchat and what happens if you’ve added one:

There are a lot of bots on Snapchat because bots are successful at making money for their developers. 

Bots do a lot of things on Snapchat, including advertising and running scams. 

Regardless of the purpose, they are usually made and maintained in order to generate revenue for someone.

So if you want to learn all about bots on Snapchat and whether adding one puts you at risk, then this article is for you.

Let’s get started!

Bots on Snapchat: Why So Many? (Bad if Added One?)

Why Are There So Many Bots on Snapchat? (5 Reasons)

Since there are a lot of bots, it might make sense to think that there are different reasons for different bots, and that’s really the case.

Bots don’t exist at random. 

They are usually designed for a purpose. 

When it comes to bots on Snapchat, the primary purpose is for the bot to make money for the person controlling it. 

But, the way that bots can generate revenue is not always direct.

So, we’ll go over some of the leading motivations behind bot activity.

#1 Advertising

Have you ever received a spam message on Snapchat that was trying to get you to go to a website? 

This is a common tactic, and more often than not, that website is a place where you can spend money. 

The bot message is just an advertisement and a simple one at that.

Some really common bot ads are related to adult content websites, games, and increasing your outreach on Snapchat (or other social media). 

The story is usually the same. 

The bot adds you on Snapchat and sends you a message. 

The message says that you can play a game or whatever, and it includes a link. 

If you take the link, you can buy whatever was advertised.

This might not be the most effective way to advertise, but when you think about the numbers game, it starts to make sense. 

Bots can spam a lot of people in a short amount of time. 

If even a small fraction of those people take the link and spend money, the bots prove their worth pretty easily.

#2 Engagement

One of the ads I just mentioned was about increasing traffic. 

While bots can advertise this kind of service, they also help to carry it out.

Snapchat (like many other communication platforms) has an algorithm that controls what content is promoted and what isn’t. 

The algorithm is not publicly disclosed, but it is very likely that popularity and engagement are part of the internal calculus.

In simplest terms, a popular account that has lots of followers who regularly engage with the account is more likely to get promoted by Snapchat. 

The idea is that popular stuff will do well if Snapchat pushes it to more people

How do bots fit in?

They can artificially inflate engagement statistics

A handful of bots can manage lots of accounts and have them interact with a specific user.

This traffic increase makes that user easier to find, and you get a feedback loop of increased activity and outreach.

So, if you paid a professional service to grow your brand on Snapchat, they might use bots in this way.

#3 Scams

This is where bots get a little scarier, and unfortunately, scams are a problem. 

Do you remember how bots will send a message with a link as an advertisement? 

That exact same behavior can be used to run a scam instead.

Scams are not always the same, but a simple example will make this clear. 

Let’s say you get a message with a link to go play a game.

It sounds interesting, so you take the link. 

You sign up for the game, and at some point, it asks for credit card information since the game isn’t free.

You pay for the game, and then you can’t access it. 

You try to contact the company to see what is wrong, and you never get any response.

There never was a game. Instead, it was a scam. 

You can imagine how scams could be more or less sophisticated, but in terms of Snapchat bots, they often look like advertising bots. 

The only difference is that if you spend money, you get stiffed.

#4 Social Engineering

Bots are typically less effective at social engineering than real, live people, but some bots still participate in this type of behavior.

So, what is social engineering?

It’s a term that describes how a person could try to trick you into a number of things. 

As an example, someone might use social engineering to trick you into sending them money, say as a catfish scam.

There are other scams, tricks, and goals that can be attached to social engineering, and it’s all too much to cover here.

The main point to understand is that some Snapchat bots might be trying to elicit responses from you for any number of reasons. 

They’re trying to manipulate your behavior, hence the term “social engineering.”

You can imagine why an unsophisticated bot might not be very good at social engineering, but that doesn’t matter. 

First, the idea of the numbers game still applies. 

The bot doesn’t have to trick everyone to be successful. 

Also, there are some pretty sophisticated bots on the internet, and some of them could prove to be pretty good at social engineering.

#5 Research & Development

Some bots are actually experiments. 

Programmers try to make bots that can do a lot of specific things, and part of the development process is building bots that are good at language processing and communication.

So, when a bot is developed, social media sites are great places to test the bots and collect data on how they perform. 

The end goal for any bot can be related to the topics mentioned above, but they can aim for a lot of other purposes too. 

Someone building a bot that has nothing to do with Snapchat still might put it on Snapchat to collect a wider set of data and inform development.

What Happens if You Add a Bot on Snapchat? (3 Things)

For the most part, not a lot happens when you add a bot. 

It will do whatever it was designed to do, but the majority of the bots aren’t terrible advanced or special. 

They’re just promoting something, and they don’t have to interact with you very much in order to do that. 

It’s entirely possible that you can add a bot and never realize it.

But, bots do carry out functions, and you’re likely to see certain behaviors and interactions when a bot is added. 

This is what is most likely going to happen to you after adding a bot.

#1 Messages

Bots are primarily designed to interact with Snapchat users. 

So, if you add a bot, it’s probably going to send you messages. 

Some bots send a single message and move on. 

Others spam until you remove or block them. 

You can get anything in between those extremes too.

But, the thing that is most likely to happen when you add a bot is that it will message you.

#2 Other Engagement

Since bots do more than just send messages, you might see some of that additional engagement. 

Bots can like content, follow content, and even promote content to other users. 

So, whether the primary interaction is through direct messaging or not, bots are going to try to interact with you using the primary Snapchat mechanics.

#3 Frustration

Bots can be annoying. 

We all know it, and if you add a bot, there’s a chance that it will annoy you. 

This isn’t inherently dangerous (we’ll talk about that side of things in a bit). 

But, if you don’t want to have to deal with spam or bot-related interactions, then accidentally adding a bot might lead to frustration.

Are Bots on Snapchat a Safety Risk? (2 Concerns)

In the majority of cases, accidentally adding a bot isn’t going to hurt you. 

It can annoy you more easily than it can cause damage. 

But, bots can be tied to scams, fraud, and other malicious practices, which is why there is some risk associated with adding a bot on Snapchat.

#1 Financial Losses

If you fall victim to a scam, you’re going to lose money. 

You can contact law enforcement and try to recover your losses, but there are no guarantees that you will succeed. 

If you pay for something on a scam site, you really might not get that money back.

Even worse, if bots are able to get ahold of your financial information, then you can be charged for all kinds of things, and the financial risk multiplies. 

The same goes for bots that get enough information to steal your identity. It’s not a good place to be.

The good news is that bots can’t steal information from you simply by existing. 

You have to interact with them by talking to them or following links.

If you ignore them, most of the risk abates.

#2 Wasted Time

Bots can waste your time. 

If you’re talking to someone on Snapchat and don’t realize it’s a bot, it might feel like your time and energy were not well spent. 

Even if you aren’t interacting with the bot and you just block it, that takes a small amount of time and energy too.

That’s probably the most common outcome when it comes to Snapchat bots. 

While they can expose you to meaningful risks, they are more likely to take up a little bit of your attention while you ignore them or get rid of them.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.