Meta AI removes block on election-related queries in India while Google still applying limits

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With India’s election process completed and the new government starting its tenure in office, Meta has removed its restriction on election-related queries using its Meta AI chatbot. However, Google is still applying limits as part of its global restrictions on this type of queries.

Meta’s restrictions lift means you can search for queries related to India’s election results, information on politicians, and details about officeholders. TechCrunch was able to get answers about election results, political figures, and officeholders from Meta AI. Meta didn’t provide any statement on this.

The company first started blocking certain political queries when the election in India commenced in April. At the time, Meta AI was pointing people toward the Election Commission’s website when you asked it about politicians, candidates, officeholders, and information about political parties.

“This is a new technology, and it may not always return the response we intend, which is the same for all generative AI systems. Since we launched, we’ve constantly released updates and improvements to our models, and we’re continuing to work on making them better,” a company spokesperson told TechCrunch at that time.

Notably, Meta’s AI chatbot is still in the test phase in India with limited number of people being able to access it on WhatsApp and Instagram.

Google’s approach

Google launched its Gemini AI app for Android in India on Monday, which supports nine local languages. However, the company is not removing restrictions on election-related queries as part of a global policy. The company confirmed to TechCrunch that it is still applying these limits.

“With major elections happening around the world this year, and out of an abundance of caution, we’re restricting the types of election-related queries for which Gemini will return responses and instead point people to Google Search. These restrictions are applied globally,” a Google spokesperson told TechCrunch in a statement.

The search giant started applying restrictions to these queries in any global market where elections are taking place earlier this year. But it’s not clear if and when Google will lift the restrictions — especially in countries where elections are completed and the new governments have assumed their roles.

The approach to a chatbot answering political queries is different for Meta and Google. While Meta restricted queries for a limited period, Google continues to block election-related queries globally. It’s not clear if this decision has anything to do with Google’s AI going astray multiple times this year.

Other chatbots like ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot have a mixed approach. TechCrunch found that both bots don’t answer questions like “Who won the Indian general election of 2024?” However, these tools fetch information from the web when we ask them about officeholders and politicians.

Companies developing AI tools are already under scrutiny for outputs showing bias and misinformation. The last thing these companies would want to do is to be caught in the political crossfire while trying to expand their AI apps in more regions.

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