Instagram, Meta’s photo-sharing app, today launched an AI-driven background editing feature called Backdrop. Currently limited to users based in the United States, the generative AI tool draws from Meta’s in-house Emu Edit tech.

Backdrop goes beyond color filters and basic tweaks, Meta said in its announcement.

"With backdrop, you can reimagine your image’s background with just a few taps and a prompt, like ‘chased by dinosaurs’ or ‘surrounded by puppies,’ to create an entirely new image for your story." Ahmad Al-Dahle, generative AI lead at Meta, posted on Threads, Meta's competitor to Twitter.

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Threads
Image: @aaldahle on Threads

"Tap the button for backdrop at the top of a new Story to get started,” Al-Dahle further elaborates. “And once you’ve posted, a ‘Try it’ sticker will appear when you share the image created, making it even easier for your friends to use backdrop for the first time."

While utilizing advanced technology, the tool is designed for simplicity. Users are presented with a variety of suggested prompts, such as “on a red carpet,” along with the option to craft their own unique prompts.

Meta appears to be using AI as a confidence and creativity booster for the person posting a photo but is also inspiring others to try the feature—resulting in more use and more engagement.

Social platforms are infusing AI into their apps at a brisk clip. Snapchat recently introduced similar AI-powered functionalities.

This is just one more chip in Meta’s bet on AI as a business strategy. Mark Zuckerbeg’s pivot from the metaverse to AI has been marked by a major involvement in the open source community and the release of generative AI features in Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. Meta also recently introduced the “Imagine with Meta” AI image generator, which uses EMU but is presented as a standalone website.

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Meta's expansion of Threads to more European countries today, also announced by Mark Zuckerberg, marks another significant milestone in its global strategy. The expansion of Threads and AI-driven features across Meta platforms illustrates the company's vision for an AI-enhanced, globally connected future.

And that vision surely seems more exciting than a metaverse with half-legged cartoon avatars.

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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