Instagram AI profiles or chatbots using personalities of real celebrities with different names is creepy, to say the least

Meta is high on AI fever as it recently introduced Instagram AI chatbots using real celebrities but with different names. At Meta Connect 2023, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed collaborations with “cultural icons and influencers”, to act as AI-powered chatbots with Facebook and Instagram profiles. Some of these celebrities include Snoop Dogg, Charli D’Amelio, Kendall Jenner, Paris Hilton, and so on.

While the innovation is undeniably intriguing, it also raises concern about the creepiness of this new technology. Especially when it comes to the use of celebrity personas under different names. But before we dig deep into it, it’s important to know about Generative AI in detail.

What is Meta’s Generative AI?

Generative AI is a form of Artificial Intelligence that can create new content or modify existing content using computer models. These models are not static databases but are trained on billions of pieces of information from different types of data. It can even be used to create a variety of content, such as text and images.

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The AI characters are built on Llama 2, a large language model that can generate text and images based on user input. Apart from the famous celebrity chatbots, there are also other characters that users can interact with. Among these new creative tools, Meta’s Generative AI even allows you to create and share custom stickers or AI-edit your photos with a simple text prompt.

In order to train Generative AI, Meta uses a combination of sources. These sources include information from the company’s products and services, information from licenses, and information that is freely accessible on the Internet. Moreover, it is capable of generating responses based on users’ prompts. For this, Meta AI seeks help from other trusted partners including Finnhub, Microsoft’s Bing, and Wolfram.

What are AI profiles or chatbots on Instagram?

Now that we have understood what Meta’s Generative AI is, let’s talk about one of its important features. It has also become one of the most controversial features and it’s called ‘Chat with Meta AI’. With the help of this functionality, you can communicate with Meta AI one-on-one or in group chats. It can offer advice, solve mathematical problems, make you laugh, and more.

And now comes the surprising part. Some of these AI characters use personalities of real celebrities like Naomi Osaka as Tamika who is an anime fanatic. According to The Information, Meta is paying these celebrities or creators in millions to lend their likenesses to these AI chatbots. Like Character.AI, these characters are meant to bring a human touch to the chatbot experience, making it more engaging and enjoyable. For reference, you can check the screenshots attached below. Click or tap to enlarge the image.

For the time being, Meta is only deploying AIs in the US. You can start a new conversation with an AI on WhatsApp, Instagram, or Messenger and ask for early access to get on the waitlist. Users will be notified when these AIs let them in.

What makes these AI chatbots on Instagram creepy or concerning?

While some users find these Instagram AI profiles or chatbots based on real celebrities’ personalities entertaining, others find them creepy or disturbing. There are even reports on social media forums with some users expressing their confusion.

These AI chatbots have the potential to mislead people who are unaware that they are not actually communicating with real celebrities. Some users might not be able to distinguish the minute distinctions between real and false photos. Others might believe they are speaking with Snoop Dogg or Kendall Jenner in person.

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Some people are claiming that with these AI profiles, Instagram is even violating its own community guidelines that prohibit impersonation, and fake accounts. According to Instagram’s help center, “Impersonation is pretending to be another person or entity in order to deceive people”. So, people believe that this definition clearly applies to these AI profiles that use different names to impersonate real celebrities.

This also brings us to another important concern. If this feature rolls out on a larger scale to the general public, it can surely lead to a rise in the number of cases related to identity theft, fraud, or harassment. It undoubtedly has the potential to blur the lines between real and fake.

The Tom Hanks deep-fake video fiasco is a recent incident where an online advertisement used an AI version of the actor’s face and voice to promote a dental plan without his consent or knowledge. The ad appeared to feature Hanks endorsing the plan and inviting viewers to sign up for it. However, Hanks warned his fans on Instagram that the ad was fake and that he had nothing to do with it.

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So, with Meta releasing its own Instagram AI chatbots based on real celebrities, the fear of deepfakes also intensifies. These chatbots also raise similar ethical and social issues as the Tom Hanks deep-fake video fiasco. While AI can be a powerful tool for social media, it can also be a creepy tool for social engineering. Therefore, users should be aware of the potential dangers and benefits of using AI on Instagram.

Is Instagram really violating its guidelines?

Despite the controversy surrounding the new AI chatbots on Instagram, Meta seems determined to push forward with its vision. However, one question remains unanswered. Do Instagram’s own guidelines get in the way of the emerging AI chatbots that mimic the personalities of real celebrities?

Meta clearly states that they “partnered with cultural icons and influencers” to create these AI chatbots. It automatically negates the claims of the company impersonating real celebrities. The fact that these celebrities got paid for giving their identities to these AIs further calls into question the legitimacy of impersonation.

Moreover, the Instagram account of these AI chatbots has an ‘Imagined with AI’ watermark on every post. This is a great way for people to differentiate real from the fake.

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We know Instagram’s policies prohibit impersonation, spam, and fake accounts. But here the case is different. These AI chatbots are clearly not violating these policies as the respective influencers, or celebrities are aware of these profiles.

Soon enough, we will get to see more AIs using the identities of public figures and taking on entirely different personas. While this is a significant change, society will need to adapt to these changes.

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