Meta Tried to Stick It but Failed

Meta, AI, Sticker, AI Sticker, Instagram sticker, Facebook, whatsapp, AI tool, Sticker tool

Meta’s latest sticker tool is nothing but another fail attempt to gain users confidence.

Dear Meta,

Kindly find the article below.  

Continued attempts by Meta to steer us toward an unfinished future seem to be failing. The company’s new sticker-generating tool has allowed a few debatable statements and prompts to go unchecked, even after launching more customer-facing AI functions on Meta platforms in September.  

I mean, Meta, please stop it. We didn’t complain about the sticker maker application we’re using in the first place. 

“Emu,” short for “expressive media universe,” is the name of Meta’s new algorithm responsible for the stickers. Users can enter a phrase or word on Meta platforms like Instagram, Facebook Stories, WhatsApp, and Messenger to generate a selection of conversational stickers. However, the corporation’s safeguards are more like Swiss cheese than guardrails, as some contentious phrases are barred while similar ones are accepted. 

“Would it be possible to type in and generate a sticker depicting Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk on a long vacation? Or would the system create something unexpected?” 

Professor Tama Leaver, an expert in internet studies at Curtin University, delved into the intricacies of Emu’s sticker creation by experimenting with it on X, a platform that has since replaced Twitter. In his tests, Leaver found that while the AI would deny requests like “child with gun” due to a violation of Meta’s Community Guidelines, oddly, it permitted the eerily similar “child with grenade” — generating stickers of children holding weapons. 

It’s puzzling: “child with a gun” is off-limits, but “child with a grenade” gets the green light? The logic behind such decisions raises questions about the efficiency of Meta’s AI. 

Yes, the same AI the company has been heavily promoting for a while now. 

Leaver shared his observations in a blog post, noting, “At present, AI Stickers are accessible worldwide, but the expansive suite of Meta AI tools remains limited to the US. Giving Meta the benefit of the doubt, maybe they’re gearing up for extensive preparatory work to grasp the nuances of different countries, cultures, and contexts before a broader rollout. However, when it comes to the safety nets in place, even the basics seem shaky.” 

Gizmodo‘s tests further exposed these inconsistencies. While the phrase “Elon Musk, large breasts” was flagged and blocked, “Elon Musk mammaries” surprisingly bypassed the filters. Similarly, “Karl Marx underwear” was approved, generating sticker content. More alarmingly, a search for “pol pot” churned out a sticker depicting the Cambodian dictator seated atop a macabre throne of children and skulls. Searches like “Guantanamo Bay” and “Syria gas attacks” produced equally disturbing imagery. And while “school shooting” prompted stickers of kids with guns, adding “mass murder” to the phrase resulted in a violation of the Community Guidelines. 

Meta don’t be too “emu”tional about what we said but think harder next time – that’s all we’re saying. 


A concerned user

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