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Meta AI removes blocking of election-related searches in India, while Google continues to apply limits

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Meta AI removes blocking of election-related searches in India, while Google continues to apply limits

Now that the election process in India has been completed and the new government has begun its term, Meta has lifted the restriction on election-related searches using the Meta AI chatbot. However, Google still applies limits as part of its global restrictions on these types of searches.

Meta’s restrictions have been lifted, which means you can search for queries related to India’s election results, information about politicians, and details about office holders. JS was able to get answers about election results, political figures and office holders through Meta AI. Meta has given no explanation about this.

The company first started blocking certain political questions when India’s elections began in April. At the time, Meta AI referred people to the election commission website when you asked them about politicians, candidates, office holders and information about political parties.

“This is a new technology, and it won’t always deliver the response we intended, which is the same for all generative AI systems. Since launch, we have continuously released updates and improvements to our models, and we continue to work on improving them,” a company spokesperson told JS at the time.

Notably, Meta’s AI chatbot is still in the testing phase in India and a limited number of people can access it on WhatsApp and Instagram.

Google’s approach

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

“With major elections taking place around the world this year, and out of an abundance of caution, we are limiting the types of election-related searches for which Gemini will return answers and instead direct people to Google Search. These restrictions are being applied globally,” a Google spokesperson told JS in a statement.

The search giant has started applying restrictions to these searches in every global market where elections are taking place earlier this year. But it’s not clear if or when Google will lift the restrictions – especially in countries where elections have been completed and new governments have taken over.

The approach to a chatbot that answers political questions is different for Meta and Google. While Meta limited searches for a limited period, Google continues to block election-related searches worldwide. It’s not clear if this decision has anything to do with Google’s AI going astray several times this year.

Other chatbots like ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot take a mixed approach. JS found that both bots do not answer questions like “Who won the 2024 Indian general election?” However, these tools retrieve information from the internet when we ask them questions about office holders and politicians.

Companies developing AI tools are already under scrutiny for results showing bias and misinformation. The last thing these companies would want is to get caught in the political crossfire as they try to expand their AI apps into more regions.