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Meta Expands Trials of Its AI Chatbot Across WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger in India and Africa

Meta, the social media conglomerate, has announced that it is currently testing its Meta AI chatbot, powered by a large language model, on users of WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger in India and select regions of Africa. This strategic move underscores Meta’s ambition to leverage the extensive user bases across its platforms to enhance its AI offerings.

The company’s endeavor comes in response to the increasing importance of AI services in the tech landscape, with notable advancements from industry peers like OpenAI. Meta had unveiled its plans to develop and experiment with chatbots and other AI tools back in February 2023. The recent sightings of the Meta AI chatbot in India, a crucial market with over 500 million Facebook and WhatsApp users combined, highlight the company’s focus on expanding its AI presence.

Furthermore, Meta’s interest in developing markets, where smartphone adoption is surging, underscores its commitment to exploring new avenues for user engagement. Reports of Meta AI appearing on WhatsApp in African countries further underscore this global expansion effort.

A Meta spokesperson confirmed the ongoing trials, stating, “Our generative AI-powered experiences are under development in varying phases, and we’re testing a range of them publicly in a limited capacity.”

Meta AI, introduced in September 2023 as a versatile virtual assistant, aims to provide direct responses to user queries within chats and facilitate the generation of photorealistic images from text inputs. The integration of Meta AI into Instagram suggests its potential utility in search queries as well.

Although Meta has been perceived as trailing behind in AI development, recent events indicate a shift in strategy. Yann LeCun, Meta’s chief AI scientist, acknowledged the evolving perception of AI chatbots within the tech community, emphasizing the growing acceptance of such models among users.

The decision to accelerate AI initiatives aligns with Meta’s objectives for user retention, investor confidence, and maintaining its position as a technological leader. Leveraging the massive user bases of Instagram and WhatsApp presents Meta with a unique opportunity to expand the reach of its AI capabilities.

In addition to its AI endeavors, Meta has also announced the imminent launch of Llama 3, the next iteration of its open-source large language model, signaling its ongoing commitment to advancing AI technologies.