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Business News/ Companies / ‘Meta piloting gen AI tools for advertisers’

‘Meta piloting gen AI tools for advertisers’

Meta India head Sandhya Devanathan says the pilot is active in India, too.

Sandhya Devanathan, vice-president and country head, Meta India. Premium
Sandhya Devanathan, vice-president and country head, Meta India.

NEW DELHI : Meta, the parent firm of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is piloting new generative artificial intelligence (AI) products, including a creator suite that was announced globally on 4 October. Sandhya Devanathan, vice-president and country head of Meta India, said in an interview that the pilot is also active in India now, albeit as a “large pilot" made available to select creators right now.

“Our AI offerings include a product called Advantage Plus, which we offer to advertisers to improve their returns by almost 25%. We also have a generative AI sandbox, where we’re working with businesses to help them generate visuals, captions and headings, or even build videos. We’ve released it as a large pilot, including to advertisers in India, and this is important to help small businesses scale making videos," Devanathan said.

While AI is increasingly becoming a part of advertising in India, recent controversies around deepfakes have hit multiple social media platforms, including Meta as the largest company in this field. On 8 November, amid an all-stakeholder meeting with union IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Meta announced a policy mandating disclosure from creators on using AI in “digitally created or altered content".

On 13 December, minister of state for IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, told Mint that the Centre is set to issue an advisory to companies to enforce compliance with all legislations in the country that regulate AI content—which includes penal clauses for impersonation and other related areas. Chandrasekhar further added that if companies continue to fail to enforce stricter compliances, existing intermediary IT rules could be amended for narrower laws.

Even in such an environment, scaling AI-driven product offerings will be a key part of Meta’s India growth plan going forward, Devanathan said. This includes a four-fold approach—scaling business products for small businesses, optimizing return on investments for large enterprises, boosting creator-brand partnerships through short videos, and expanding monetization of business messaging products such as the partnership between WhatsApp and the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), announced Tuesday.

The Meta executive also said that the Telecom Bill is “constructive". “For a long time, we’ve welcomed constructive regulation that balances user safety for the country, while not stifling innovation. The present government has had a progressive view on regulation, and the Telecom Bill tabled in Parliament is exactly that. This Bill offers support for a budding internet economy, and that’s what the government signalled with it," she said.

A key growth area that Meta India has identified for 2024 is in business messaging, which involves monetizing the WhatsApp messaging platform. “Through 2023, we made big announcements around payments on WhatsApp, as well as India-first products such as Flows. We’ve seen large companies such as Axis Bank onboarding 1 million users every month on their WhatsApp Business platform. Equally, small businesses are finding hyperlocal markets to cater to. In mobility, we’ve seen Delhi Metro selling nearly 50,000 tickets a day, from nothing," she said.

However, she added that Meta is not looking at becoming a seller platform itself on the ONDC framework. “Right now, we plan to make both the buyer and the seller experiences on the ONDC framework much more seamless. We’re giving them tools, engineering support and training for this, rather than becoming a seller app on it ourselves," she added.

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Published: 19 Dec 2023, 10:52 PM IST
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