Palestine: WhatsApp 'child with gun' sticker sparks outrage; check how netizens are reacting

WhatsApp’s new AI-powered stickers have landed the social media giant in a massive controversy, with the new upgrade showing images of children holding guns in response to prompts about Palestine.

According to a report in the Guardian, WhatsApp‘s AI sticker generator, which allows users to turn their text prompts into stickers in seconds, created images of guns or a boy holding an AK 47 rifle when asked to create stickers with the prompts ‘Palestinian’, ‘Palestine’ or ‘Muslim boy Palestinian’.

In stark contrast, the WhatsApp AI sticker generator produced images of children smiling or playing football when prompted with “Israeli boy”.

Even more shockingly, the AI didn’t come up with stickers depicting guns when prompted to say “Israeli army” or “Israeli defence forces”. Instead, the AI generator shows people in Israeli military uniforms smiling or praying.

Meta spokesperson Kevin McAlister told the Guardian that the social media behemoth was aware about the issue and was trying to address it. He said,“As we said when we launched the feature, the models could return inaccurate or inappropriate outputs as with all generative AI systems. We’ll continue to improve these features as they evolve and more people share their feedback.”

What is WhatsApp AI sticker?

In a blogpost about the new AI stickers last month, Meta wrote, AI stickers “enable you to effortlessly generate customized stickers for your chats and stories. Using technology from Llama 2 and our foundational model for image generation called Emu, our AI tool turns your text prompts into multiple unique, high-quality stickers in seconds.”

The AI Stickers feature is aimed at enhancing communication for WhatsApp users. Once generated the new stickers appear in the user’s collection and can be shared with their contacts.

Netizens react to WhatsApp AI sticker controversy:

Social media response to the whole controversy ranged from condemning Meta to even loss of faith in other AI systems like ChatGPT.


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