Meta’s flirtation with innovation has been, at best, poorly panning out and, at worst, delightfully creepy. The latter best describes the case of the tech company’s new foray into AI with machine-generated personas.
News broke late last month that Meta would begin adding some new AI-generated personas to platforms like Instagram and Facebook in the coming weeks, and those personas are now live. Take, for example, Billie who is based on the likeness of model and socialite Kendall Jenner. According to her Instagram bio, Billie is “your local ride or die” based in New York City. A grey disclaimer tag indicated that the account is not, in fact, a human clone of Jenner but is “AI managed by Meta.” Billie’s feed is chock full of AI-generated imagery of photoshoot sets, brick oven pizza, a cheugy fall spread, and even an introductory Reel with a caption touting that “chatting with me is like having an older sister you can talk to, but who can’t steal your clothes.”
“Our journey with AIs is just beginning, and it isn’t purely about building AIs that only answer questions. We’ve been creating AIs that have more personality, opinions, and interests, and are a bit more fun to interact with,” Meta wrote in a release. “And because interacting with them should feel like talking to familiar people, we did something to build on this even further. We partnered with cultural icons and influencers to play and embody some of these AIs.”
Billie is one of 28 AI influencers that Meta has added to Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, all with a unique personality and a likeness based on some celebrity or public figure. The AI influencers began posting towards the end of September, and users can direct message these influencers and have a conversation with a chatbot, or browse their feeds for AI-generated content. These profiles may also feature an occasional video or selfie from the celebrities playing these AI characters, who shot content in a studio. Along the way, the faceless corporation tries its best to be hip and relatable with half-hearted attempts at sparking memes and generating social media challenges.
Meta is not breaking any new ground with these AI personas as virtual influencers were popularized by the likes of Lil Miquela, an artificial teenager who has a music career and has modelled for Calvin Klein. What Meta is doing is begging you to spend time on Instagram and use its in-house AI chatbot to spill your guts and ask for recipes. Whether or not people want to meme on the AI or genuinely interact with it, people will be using it, at least for a while. And numbers are numbers.
The AI influencers are one of Meta’s recent attempts to chase an ill-conceived trend that’s already beginning to trend downward along with a healthy dash of corporate cringe. Meta also recently revealed AI-generated stickers for Instagram and Facebook that are able to embody Elon Musk with boobs and school children holding guns.
Here are the 12 worst AI personas Meta unveiled in no particular order.
Billie (Kendall Jenner)
We’re starting with arguably the most recognizable face, Kendall Jenner’s Billie. Billie is a hollow-shelled caricature of what an influencer is à la Netflix’s Emily in Paris. Billie is an influencer living in New York City and is billed as being like your sister, but nothing is less familial than an AI chatbot giving you advice—how could that go wrong?
@datingwithcarter seeks to do what AI has never been able to: Understand human romance. Carter is a self-proclaimed “relationship helper” whose goal is “helping you date better” in the style of influencer life coaches like @yourdiagnonsense. The only difference is Meta is endorsing using a chatbot to smooth the gaps over in your relationship, and will hopefully not kink shame your foot fetish. Also, a brief survey of the G/O Media newsroom left us scratching our heads in trying to identify who the actor/influencer/public persona portraying Carter is, so points off for that.
LaurDIY is a YouTuber with a specialty in crafts and home projects, so she is the obvious choice for a company looking to create a DIY AI influencer. The inherent problem with Dylan is that while AI might be able to give craft ideas, it won’t be able to show any finished projects. That makes this entire account a moot point.
Bru (Tom Brady)
Tom Brady portrays Bru, a sport-obsessed himbo, who wants to talk trash about opposing teams with you via DM’s. Bru is incredibly cringe with a feed including AI images of chips and hockey skates. It’s highly probable that devoted sports fans will not want to engage and/or Jets fans will try to get the Patriots QB to say dumb things.
Dungeon Master (Snoop Dogg)
When you think ‘Dungeon and Dragons player,’ who do you think of? Snoop Dogg? Well, congrats, you’d be right. The hip-hop icon is portraying a persona known only as Dungeon Master, with a feed full of AI-generated fantasy imagery. At least Snoop looks like he’s having some fun with it.
Amber (Paris Hilton)
Nothing says “How do you do fellow kids?” than a detective character. Amber is some weird cross between Carter and Billie and is the BFF that also gives you relationship advice—but through the guise of a detective. It’s a surreal character with even more bizarre posts about solving crimes and not being sus.
Speaking of bizarre, Meta abandoned all hope for a grounded approach (literally) and created an AI persona for an alien named Alvin. Alvin’s entire existence on Instagram is to document things he finds on Earth during his interstellar travels, so he does get some points for a creative motivation for using the platform, but his humor really does not land. Like Carter, Alvin doesn’t appear to be portrayed by anyone particularly famous or noteworthy.
Coco (Charli D’Amelio)
Take everything about one of TikTok’s most followed creators Charli D’Amelio and turn it up to 11 and now you have Coco. Coco is a dancer and influencer who exudes confidence and gives you advice—advice is a very common theme with these personas as Meta encourages you to interact with the chatbot in DMs. Coco is bubbly and has a talent, but ultimately a little unlikeable.
Max (Roy Choi)
Celebrity chef Roy Choi portrays Max, a chef who can offer you recipe ideas and cooking tips in your DMs with him. Like Dylan, the problem here is that you can’t reliably see anything that Max actually cooks because all of the photos of food on his page are made with an AI image generator.
The cool guy next door Zach shares the likeness of YouTuber and failed burger restaurant entrepreneur MrBeast. Zach’s whole thing is that he’s just kinda…there. He’s just a goofball who does standup comedy and doesn’t do his laundry.
Angie (Raven Ross)
For “Angie,” Meta tapped Raven Ross, a cast member from the third season of Netflix’s Love Is Blind who pivoted away from reality TV and into a pretty successful social media career. Ross portrays a health and fitness guru named Angie, who is willing to give you some ideas for workouts and fitspo, but can’t actually show you any form or actual workouts since she’s an AI. Pass.
Tamika (Naomi Osaka)
Pro athlete Naomi Osaka has been downgraded from world-renowned tennis player to AI influencer Tamika, an anime-obsessed cosplayer. Osaka gets to draw on her Japanese heritage, but it’s hard to take Tamika seriously as a costume designer when all of her posts about cosplaying are fake.
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