Meta says you can’t turn off its new AI tool on Facebook, Instagram

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Meta has now integrated AI into Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger in Canada — but its presence may not be welcomed by all, as the new feature can’t be turned off.

In a statement Thursday, the company said Meta AI can be used “to get things done, learn, create and connect with the things that matter to you.”

It is now available in Canada, Australia, Ghana, Jamaica, Malawi, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Some applications the company listed include asking it to recommend a restaurant with sunset views and vegan options, or for it to explain a subject a student may soon have a test on. The program can also generate images based on text prompts.

Meta AI is available in the search bar of the applications and uses the Llama 3 model.

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However, some are already reporting unwanted applications of the new program.

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For example, The Associated Press reported that an official Meta AI chatbot inserted itself into a conversation in a private Facebook group for Manhattan moms. It claimed it too had a child in school in New York City, but when confronted by the group members, it later apologized before its comments disappeared, according to screenshots shown to The Associated Press.

“Apologies for the mistake! I’m just a large language model, I don’t have experiences or children,” the chatbot told the group.

Facebook’s online help page says that Meta AI will join a group conversation if tagged, or if someone “asks a question in a post and no one responds within an hour.”

Group administrators can turn the feature off.

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While that feature can be turned off, Meta AI’s more general presence on the platforms cannot, according to a statement from Meta to Global News. However, a spokesperson said there are feedback tools you can use if you didn’t like a response received.

“Meta AI aims to be a helpful assistant and is in the search bar to assist with your questions. You can’t disable it from this experience, but you can search how you normally would to engage with a variety of results,” the spokesperson said.

“We’ll use this feedback to continue training the models so they are less likely to produce potentially harmful outputs and to improve the ability of our systems to automatically detect policy violations.”

AI systems have slowly been popping up after ChatGPT popularized the idea, including from Google and X. Meta’s integration of AI, though, with its billions of users, would be one of the largest distributions of such technology so far.

— with files from The Associated Press.

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