Here’s How to Turn Off Meta AI From Your Search Bar on Instagram

The new “free virtual assistant” rolled out on the platform on Friday

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After introducing its AI assistants and chatbots in September, Meta officially integrated the company’s Meta AI chatbot into Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp on Friday. While some welcomed this latest in AI development, others have demanded the ability to turn it off.

While Meta has insisted that Meta AI can’t actually be disabled, there are a few workarounds.

What is the Meta AI chatbot?

The Meta AI chatbot has been described as a “free virtual assistant” that can help plan trips and dinners or even help you write captions for your Instagram posts. The feature isn’t inherently awful, but has appeared to take the place of the traditional search bar on the platform — although you can still search as normal just by typing in what you’re looking for.

Meta built the chatbot with Meta Llama 3. In addition to the US, the AI tool is available in Australia, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, Malawi, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

How do I turn Meta AI off on Instagram?

The steps for turning off Meta AI on Instagram are pretty easy, for now.

  • First, click the magnifying glass at the bottom of Instagram to begin a search.
  • Next, hit the blue arrow to send a message to Meta AI.
  • After the chatbot sends you a message, reply, “I don’t need your help. I want to search the old way.”
  • From there, tap on the name Meta AI in the top left corner, then tap “profile” and block Meta AI.
  • When you return to your search, you’ll see the Meta AI blue circle still, but should be able to search the old-fashioned way.

If this doesn’t work for you, there’s another suggestion in this Reddit thread. The Washington Post also offers this suggestion for WhatsApp: “In WhatsApp, there is an option to hide the new Meta AI button by going to Settings → Chats → Show Meta AI Button.”

What if I want to use the Meta AI chatbot?

If the chatbot doesn’t bother you, using it isn’t that difficult. The chatbot will begin interacting after a user has typed a search term, or even a full sentence or question, into the search bar.

The chatbot can attempt all kinds of things, such as animating photos, and you can also ask it to show you Reels on a topic of interest.

Comments

2 responses to “Here’s How to Turn Off Meta AI From Your Search Bar on Instagram”

  1. Christophe Lubowitz Avatar

    You’ve brought a lot of clarity to a murky subject, thanks for shining a light.

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