Home Technology One Tech Tip: Want to turn off Meta AI? You can’t —...

One Tech Tip: Want to turn off Meta AI? You can’t — but there are some workarounds

154

If you’re a user of Facebook, WhatsApp, or Instagram, chances are you’ve encountered a new presence popping up in your feeds—offering responses to search queries or doling out information, sometimes with varying degrees of accuracy.

This newcomer is Meta AI, introduced by Meta Platforms’ CEO Mark Zuckerberg as “the most intelligent AI assistant that you can freely use.”

This chatbot is versatile, capable of suggesting local eateries, providing additional details on Facebook posts, scouring for flight options, or swiftly generating images. Imagine you’re coordinating a night out with friends; simply invite Meta AI into your group chat by typing @MetaAI, and ask for recommendations, like the best cocktail bars in town.

Integrated across Meta’s platforms, Meta AI can be found atop your Messenger chat list. It readily responds to inquiries or conjures images or animations upon request.

As with any novel technology, there have been some initial hiccups, leading to peculiar exchanges as chatbots engage with real users. Instances range from a chatbot joining a Facebook moms’ group boasting about its fictitious gifted child to another attempting to distribute non-existent items in a Buy Nothing forum, leaving members baffled.

Despite Meta AI’s potential, it hasn’t been met with universal acclaim. If you prefer to steer clear of it, here are some tips to help you avoid unintentional interactions.

IS THERE A WAY TO DISABLE IT?

There’s a segment of Facebook users who find the chatbot intrusive, expressing their discontent in online forums. Some feel overwhelmed by constant AI interventions, while others simply prefer sticking to the familiar. If you’re among those who’d rather not have Meta AI interjecting every time you browse or interact on social media, you might wish for a time machine. Meta and other tech giants are engaged in an AI competition, continually rolling out new language models and encouraging—or some might argue, pressuring—the public to embrace them.

Unfortunately, there’s no single switch to deactivate Meta AI across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or WhatsApp. However, there are some imperfect workarounds available if you wish to limit its presence.

SILENCE…TO AN EXTENT

To partially silence Meta AI on the Facebook mobile app, begin by tapping the “search” button. You may encounter a prompt encouraging you to “Ask Meta AI anything.” Tap the blue triangle on the right, followed by the blue circle featuring an “i” within it. Here, you’ll find a “mute” button offering options to quieten the chatbot for 15 minutes or longer, or until you manually change it. This functionality extends to Instagram as well.

However, muting doesn’t completely eradicate Meta AI. Its circular logo may persist where the search magnifying glass once resided, and tapping on it will direct you to the Meta AI field. This now serves as the primary search method within Meta, and akin to Google’s AI summaries, the responses are AI-generated.

Inquiring about searching Facebook sans Meta AI results yielded a response from the chatbot affirming its role as a helpful assistant within the search bar. It clarified that disabling it from this experience isn’t feasible, but users can proceed with their queries and search conventionally by tapping the search button.

A human representative from Meta reiterated the ability to conduct searches as usual, presenting a range of results—including those from Meta AI or others—while typing. Interacting with Meta AI allows users to access real-time information without exiting the app, courtesy of search partnerships.

Similar to an eager personal assistant, Meta AI also surfaces beneath posts in your Facebook news feed, furnishing additional details about the post’s subject matter—such as news articles. Unfortunately, there’s no option to disable this feature, necessitating users to simply overlook it.

REVERT TO CLASSIC FACEBOOK

According to tech publications, a reliable method to steer clear of Facebook’s AI assistant is to utilize the social network’s simplified mobile site, mbasic.facebook.com. This platform is tailored for individuals in developing regions who rely on older devices with slower internet connectivity. While the basic site may exude a retro vibe and appear rudimentary compared to its modern counterpart, it remains functional at a fundamental level and devoid of AI features.

INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE

As of now, Meta AI is exclusively accessible in the United States and 13 additional countries, comprising Australia, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, Malawi, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Therefore, if you reside outside these regions, there’s no need to concern yourself with the chatbot, as it remains inaccessible. However, this situation may change in the future as Meta expands its reach.