Meta AI cannot be turned off on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp

Generative AI is an exciting, powerful, controversial new technology, and if Mark Zuckerberg has his way, it's not going away anytime soon. If you use any of Meta's mobile apps, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or WhatsApp, you may have noticed the newly embedded Meta AI integration recently. This is all part of the launch of Meta AI’s latest large-scale language model, Llama 3. While Llama 3 is more powerful than previous versions, these new buttons and prompts make it harder than ever to ignore.

Let’s say you don’t quite trust AI yet and want to keep searching and scrolling the old-fashioned way. Can you turn off the new Meta AI integration?

What is Meta AI?

First of all, we must know ourselves and our enemies. Meta's artificial intelligence assistant has actually been around since September 2023 , but recent updates have put it directly into the search box, and sometimes even into the feeds of apps like Facebook and Instagram. Different apps have slightly different integrations, but in general, clicking on the search box (and sometimes the chat button) in a Meta app will now display a rainbow circle with the prompt: "Ask Meta AI any questions."

If you accept Meta's suggestions, you can ask Meta AI to answer writing or image-generating prompts, classic features of an AI assistant. The app will even give you some suggestions, and with the launch of Llama 3, it can now generate gifs and return live search results from Google or Bing.

The problem with these features is that they're mixed in with non-AI features, so it can be a little confusing to differentiate between them. Here's how to disable meta-AI, if not disable it, then at least ignore it.

How to disable meta-AI on Facebook

The Facebook app has the most prominent Meta AI integration. Opening the app and clicking the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner still takes you to the search bar, but now displays the Meta AI logo, a sample prompt to ask Meta AI something, and a short command to "Ask Meta AI anything."

do not panic. Your regular search functionality isn't going away. Search for a friend's name, a specific event, or even "New York Yankees fans" and you'll get the same results as before. The difference is that among these results, you will also get search results recommended by artificial intelligence, with the Meta AI logo on the left (there will be a magnifying glass next to the results that are not recommended by artificial intelligence). Clicking on a reply with the Meta AI logo will take you from search to a chat window with Meta AI, where you can interact with it like any other chatbot, or press the "X" button in the upper left corner to return to search. Pressing Enter without clicking any of the suggested searches will continue the search as usual.

Likewise, scrolling through your feed may also prompt you to use Meta AI, either through generic cards interspersed between articles, or through small footers at the bottom of some articles that offer to use AI to tell you more about the topic of the article. .

Because AI is so closely integrated into the typical process of using an app, it makes sense that some users might not want to be bothered by AI.

Unfortunately, there isn't an easy way to turn it off yet. Facebook's support page offers no such solution, and asking Meta AI how to disable it yielded conflicting answers, none of which worked in our testing.

But that doesn't mean there's no hope. Thankfully, all Meta AI integrations are currently marked with the Meta AI logo, so if you don't see it, you know your content comes from a real person (or at least a more old-fashioned bot). Additionally, when you're chatting with Meta AI, you can long-press an answer to rate it, delete it, pin it, or copy it. Group owners can also prevent Meta AI from automatically crawling their posts by entering the group, clicking the three dots in the upper right corner, clicking "Add Features", scrolling to Meta AI, and then selecting Settings next to "Help members get information" Click "Remove" in the tab.

How to disable Meta AI on Instagram

Instagram's Meta AI integration is milder than Facebook's, as it only shows up when you tap the search bar, and functions largely the same as its sister app. Its search suggestions will be mixed with more traditional search suggestions and marked with the rainbow-colored Meta AI logo, while non-AI search suggestions will have a magnifying glass next to them. Tapping on a Meta AI suggestion will open a chat—actually the same chat as in Facebook or other Meta apps—where you can rate its answers or delete them.

Unfortunately, Meta AI can't be strictly disabled here either, which can be doubly frustrating since I'm probably more likely to search for "how to peel an onion" or "how to cut an avocado" here than on Facebook. Just pay attention to the icon next to the suggested search and you can temporarily avoid the AI.

How to disable Meta AI on Messenger and WhatsApp

Messenger and WhatsApp have the lowest integration of Meta AI - here, the chatbot is basically just another person in your contacts. Clicking on a conversation with the chatbot will open the chatbot, which will also remember any questions you ask it in other Meta-owned apps.

Otherwise, the only integration is a small icon in the lower center or upper right corner of the screen, depending on your app. Clicking the icon also opens your conversation with Meta AI, which is important if you've deleted your chat history.

Yes, there are ways to "remove" Meta AI from these applications. Just delete the conversation with it like any other conversation and it will disappear from your contact list. Small icons remain elsewhere in the app's UI, presumably to give you a way to start a new conversation if you accidentally delete one, but otherwise the AI's presence here is completely unobtrusive.