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Pinterest CEO: We're making AI 'additive to people's lives, not addictive'

Pinterest (PINS) CEO Bill Ready says his social media platform should be discussed more as the great artificial intelligence debate rages through Silicon Valley and some areas of the stock market.

And Pinterest shouldn't be put in the same bucket as the heavily criticized TikTok and Instagram (META).

"We have a great foundation in AI — our computer vision is what people would know Pinterest for really," Ready said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above) at the Shoptalk retail conference in Las Vegas. "We're making sure that it's additive to people's lives, not addictive, which I think has been one of the criticisms of some of what has happened with AI and social media over the last many years is that in a lot of ways it was becoming more and more addictive — connecting you to things that make you engage for longer but may not make you feel better after you engage with it."

A guest hold up a phone during the Pinterest Inc. IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A guest holds up a phone during the Pinterest Inc. IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (Brendan McDermid / Reuters)

Ready took over as CEO in June 2022 after a career spanning tech giants such as PayPal (PYPL) and Google (GOOGL).

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The tech veteran is tapping into his commerce experience, and told Yahoo Finance Live he is focused on making Pinterest a more "shoppable" platform to drive sales and grow the user base.

Pinterest CEO Bill Ready (right) says AI will be key in unlocking value from the social media platform.
Pinterest CEO Bill Ready (right) says AI will be key in unlocking value from the social media platform. (Yahoo Finance)

Ready explained that further refinements to Pinterest's AI will be key to unlocking the platform's potential.

"I think a lot of this discussion about AI has missed how important it is in what signal the AI is acting upon," he said. "The AI is only as good as the signal that it acts upon. And for Pinterest, we have hundreds of millions of pinners that come to Pinterest every day and curate what a great outfit looks like, what a great room design looks like in a certain aesthetic. And we are able to have our AI act upon billions of interactions from pinners that make these product associations, which is very different than what you'd find on any other social media platform or really any other shopping platform."

These efforts around AI, coupled with fresh cost cuts, are expected to drive margin expansion this year for Pinterest in the face of an ad sales market that Ready says is still "choppy."

Pinterest sees first-quarter sales growing by a low-single-digit percentage year over year. Expenses are forecast to drop by low double digits.

Pinterest stock is up more than 20% year-to-date, outpacing the performance of the Nasdaq Composite, as Wall Street waits for accelerated user growth.

"Overall, we remain neutral-rated while we watch for the new CEO’s impact on MAUs and the overall user experience, along w/ improved monetization, while driving cost efficiencies, all into an uncertain macro environment," JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth wrote.

Brian Sozzi is Yahoo Finance's Executive Editor. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn. Tips on the banking crisis? Email brian.sozzi@yahoofinance.com

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