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Meta to launch generative AI advertising tools, but legal battles are unresolved

The news: Meta has announced plans to roll out a generative AI product that can be used to create ads for its platforms by the end of the year, per a statement from CTO Andrew Bosworth.

Meta and AI: The tech giant was slow to seize on the AI trend, still reeling from shrinking ad revenues and floundering on how to pursue its metaverse dream. The new product from the company’s recently formed AI team will attempt to reduce the barrier to advertising on Meta’s platforms.

  • Creating tools that let advertisers of all sizes quickly put together creative campaigns is a smart way to capture ad dollars, and something TikTok has found success with. But unlike TikTok’s bevy of interactive advertising features and audio libraries, Meta is promising to let companies use generative AI to create campaigns.
  • Generative AI has obvious advertising implications—why hire a team of expensive creatives when an AI can generate artwork and copy for you? But the reality is much murkier. Generative AI has landed in legal hot water for allegedly being trained on copyrighted material without consent.
  • Those lawsuits have made brands tepid about embracing “creative” AI, though major companies like Coca-Cola have started experimenting with the tech, suggesting brand interest. If Meta can release a working product that addresses brands’ legal concerns, it could eke out ahead of the competition.

But be warned: Generative AI is promising for a lot of brands, but Meta’s murky history of disobeying rules and fudging metrics means it will have to overcome a huge trust hurdle to get brands comfortable with using these new tools. When the product eventually launches, brands will have to ask themselves if the benefits outweigh the risk of litigation.