Meta’s AI stickers are here and already causing controversy

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Well, that didn’t take long: Just a week after Meta announced a “universe of AI” for Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, the company’s new AI-generated stickers are already causing controversy.

Some users have already received an update allowing them to quickly create AI-generated stickers from text prompts in Facebook Messenger and Instagram Messenger. However, it seems that Meta’s filters to block objectionable or questionable content are not catching everything, allowing for all sorts of interesting mashups, such as copyrighted children’s characters like Mickey Mouse being shown smoking a marijuana cigar (blunt), or Winnie the Pooh (whose copyright term just ended) holding a rifle.

Artist Pier-Olivier Desbiens posted on X this evening, immediately garnering hundreds of thousands of views and comments with additional sticker images.

Credit: Screenshot / Twitter

Even Elon Musk and Alex Jones have been the targets of controversial parody stickers.

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Credit: Screenshot / Twitter

When questioned about the kind of stickers being created and shared on X, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone pointed VentureBeat to a blog post, “Building Generative AI Features Responsibly.”

“As with all generative AI systems, the models could return inaccurate or inappropriate outputs,” said Stone. “We’ll continue to improve these features as they evolve and more people share their feedback.”

The stickers controversy comes just a couple of days after Jenna Geary, head of content and audience at Bloomberg, shared a thread of a chat she had with one of Meta’s new AI characters, “Brian, a warm grandfather in his 70s” that went off the rails.

And last week VentureBeat also offered a warning for caution after Google Bard’s fail: “The interactive, playful, fun nature of Meta’s AI announcements — even those using tools for business and brand use — comes at a moment when the growing number of Big Tech’s fast-paced AI product releases, including last week’s Amazon Alexa news and Microsoft’s Copilot announcements — are raising concerns about security, privacy, and just plain-old tech hubris.”

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