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Meta's AI is now in your Instagram and Facebook. Here's what it does — and whether you can turn it off

Ana Altchek   

Meta's AI is now in your Instagram and Facebook. Here's what it does — and whether you can turn it off
  • Meta introduced its AI-powered chatbot Meta AI across its social media and messaging platforms.
  • The tool is similar to ChatGPT and Gemini, offering text generation and image creation.

Meta released a new AI-powered assistant on its apps last week, and users can't seem to escape it, whether they want to or not.

The prompt "ask Meta AI anything" shows up whenever you click on the search bar in Instagram and Facebook. It also shows up as a chat on messaging apps Messenger and WhatsApp.

The newly released Llama 3 LLM powers the tool, and Meta calls it "the most intelligent AI assistant you can use for free." It's also available in 12 countries outside the US.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday in a first-quarter earnings call that the company is on its path "to having the most used and best AI assistant in the world."

But some social media fans aren't happy about the change, with one X post comparing it to "when Apple force-download that U2 album onto everyone's iPhone." So Business Insider took a look at what the AI does, how it competes against other chatbots — and if there is a way of avoiding the technology.

What it does

Meta AI is similar to other AI chatbots like OpenAI's ChatGPT or Google's Gemini. According to the tool, it can help with a "wide range of topics, from general knowledge to more specific questions." That includes generating text, offering suggestions, and creating images.

Users can access Meta AI in their feeds, chats, and search. They can also view the history of conversations in the chat section on Messenger and Instagram.

The tool is free for Meta users and can be used without exiting your app. It can also create AI-generated images by asking it to "imagine" a description of what you want the image to be.

Users can make GIFs, too, by asking the chatbot to animate the image. The assistant can make a moving photo — although the GIFs aren't like the general meme ones offered in iPhone messaging to add humor or commentary to conversations.

How does it compare to other AI chatbots?

The main difference that separates Meta AI from other chatbots is the ability to use it when you're in the social media app without exiting the app (ChatGPT, for example, is a stand-alone app). It's the first tool automatically implemented into multiple social media platforms.

Zuckerberg previously told The Verge that the goal with Llama 3 "wasn't to build something that was way ahead" but to bring AI to platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

But despite being available on the app, Meta AI isn't automatically connected to your social media accounts or personal information. If you ask it how many Instagram followers you have, it will ask you to share your username, and then it will tell you to look at the account yourself.

Can you turn it off?

Unlike other chatbots that you can use at your own will, you can't get rid of Meta AI.

Since its release, the tool has created quite an online stir, with users questioning the ability to turn it on or off. According to many, the chatbot also originally incorrectly said it could be disabled and provided instructions to do so when asked.

Meta seems to have fixed that issue because the chatbot now says it can't be removed.

But if users don't want to use it, they can search regularly on Instagram or Facebook without typing inquiries for the assistant. And on WhatsApp and Messenger, users can just ignore the Meta AI chats since they're not available in the search bar.