Meta rolls out upgraded AI assistant across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp

Meta says its AI assistant is now the most powerful free tool available as it challenges OpenAI's ChatGPT

Meta Platforms launched a new upgraded version of its artificial intelligence assistant, Meta AI, across its apps on Thursday.

The tool, available on the social media giant's platforms including Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, is powered by Llama 3, the latest generation of Meta's large language model.

The Meta logo

Meta has upgraded its artificial intelligence assistant across all the social media giant's apps. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration / Reuters Photos)

Meta's AI assistant is the company's answer to OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot, which took off with enormous popularity when it was released in November 2022. Meta is now touting its own AI assistant as the best free tool available.

"The bottom line is that we believe that Meta AI is now the most intelligent AI assistant that you can freely use," Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a video announcing the rollout on Thursday. 

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Zuckerberg said Meta has integrated real-time knowledge from Google and Bing into the assistant's answers, and made the tool more accessible across its apps by building it into the search boxes on the platforms.

Meta Platforms Executive Chairman Mark Zuckerberg gestures to the Facebook Messenger logo

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says Meta's AI assistant is now the most powerful tool available that is free for users. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam / Reuters Photos)

The AI assistant is also capable of creating images and animations more quickly, and can update them for users as they type.

The company has also built a new website, Meta AI, so that people can use the tool separately from their apps.

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The announcement comes as Meta has been scrambling to push generative AI products out to its billions of users to challenge OpenAI's leading position on the technology, involving an overhaul of computing infrastructure and the consolidation of previously distinct research and product teams.

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Meta has been releasing models like Llama 3 for free commercial use by developers as part of its catch-up effort, as the success of a powerful free option could stymie rivals' plans to earn revenue off their proprietary technology. The strategy has also elicited safety concerns from critics who are wary of what unscrupulous developers may use the open-source model to build.

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The Meta AI assistant is expanding to more than a dozen markets outside the U.S. with the update, including Australia, Canada, Singapore, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Reuters contributed to this report.