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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the way society interacts, communicates, and generates and consumes content. The technology is already changing the digital landscape, and raising many questions about its use and impact. Among these are questions about the implications of social media AI.

While there is little doubt that the use of AI in social media can offer many benefits, from enhancing the user experience to helping businesses make smarter marketing decisions, it also presents some challenges to user privacy and requires a certain amount of restraint and responsibility from those who use the technology.

What is AI in Social Media?

Social media platforms now incorporate AI technology in many of their features. Some users wonder if this applies to all platforms, asking questions like “Does Instagram use AI?” The reality is that the technology is so powerful and offers so many benefits that all social media networks incorporate it to some extent. For example, Instagram and Facebook use AI to curate users’ feeds and timelines, ensuring the prioritization of content that—according to the automatically compiled and analyzed data—most appeals to each individual user.

This is why, for example, even if two Instagram users follow exactly the same accounts, their feeds may look different based on how and when they engage with content. As such, users wondering “Are social media algorithms AI?” are asking the right questions—many platforms’ algorithms do use the technology to improve and personalize the user experience.

How is AI Used in Social Media?

So how is AI used in social media? While the technology certainly has benefits for the average user, it is especially useful for business users such as brands, companies, and content creators. Social media AI can simplify many of the processes that businesses execute on these platforms, enhancing their ability to deliver personalized experiences for followers and increasing the efficiency of their actions. Social media AI can also save companies a lot of time because these tools automate many of the functions that may previously have been necessary to execute manually. Additionally, brands can use AI to track their public reputation.

Here are a few ways of how businesses can enhance their use of social media with AI:

  • Manage advertising: Companies can use AI-enabled tools to perform customer segmentation to ensure that advertising on social media is targeted to the right audience.
  • Analyze data: AI can automatically analyze massive amounts of data in a short time to assist with more targeted advertising, as well as track the performance of social media posts and ads.
  • Automate posts: Businesses can use AI-based tools to schedule posts to be published at a time when audiences are most active, thus ensuring better engagement.
  • Moderate content: Social media AI bots can assist in moderating the user-generated content on a business’s public pages, filtering out anything that may be inappropriate or infringe on community guidelines.
  • Generate content: Generative AI for social media posts can help quickly craft high-performing content as well as choose hashtags that will boost the posts’ visibility. On LinkedIn, businesses can use generative AI to help draft job descriptions, for example.
  • Select influencers: With so many influencers and content creators around, companies can use AI to help determine which ones are best suited to their brand and advertising goals.
  • Social listening: Collating online brand mentions to get an idea of what is being said about a company on social media sites.
  • 24/7 customer service: AI-enabled chatbots allow companies to offer automated customer service at all hours through their social media pages.

AI is also used by social media networks to streamline certain processes and improve the user experience. Some examples of this include:

  • Recommending posts, photos, and videos that users are more likely to engage with based on their previous activity.
  • Offering facial recognition and automatic geotagging to help users tag other users and locations in their posts.
  • Creating video filters using generative AI, such as on Snapchat.
  • Moderating content that could infringe on the platform’s community guidelines.
  • Enabling the creation and sharing of user-generated content, such as stickers on Instagram.
  • Detecting and deleting spam, hate speech, or cyberbullying.

Pros and Cons of AI in Social Media

There is no doubt that the use of social media AI is already extensive and will continue to grow as the technology develops and becomes more powerful. However, like any other technology, AI use in social media has advantages and disadvantages. These powerful tools can significantly enhance the social media experience, but they can also create new challenges and problems for individual and organizational users.

Benefits of AI in Social Media

From the discussion above, it is clear that social media AI can be very useful. However, the benefits of this technology go beyond simply enhancing organizational efficacy. Here are several ways AI tools are elevating the social media experience:

  • Creating a more inclusive online space for all users by filtering out inappropriate content and penalizing users who infringe community guidelines.
  • Saving the time of content creators by automating many of the more mundane functions of managing an organizational social media profile, such as scheduling and customer service.
  • Boosting creativity by helping to generate more ideas and create more impactful campaigns.
  • Growing the reach and profile of small businesses and creators.
  • Saving costs by eliminating the need for copious amounts of manual labor to manage social media pages and campaigns.
  • Enabling better business decisions by generating more precise data sets and insights.
  • Accelerating revenue by highlighting the best-performing language and visuals, suggesting new audiences, and enabling targeted advertising to more receptive audiences.
  • Increasing security for personal users by minimizing the opportunities for data and identity theft, and phishing.

Disadvantages of AI in Social Media

Of course, as with all technologies, there are some risks to AI use in social media. Some of these relate to how users and companies choose to deploy these powerful tools. However, some of these downsides are inherent in AI technology. These are just some of the risks of social media AI:

  • AI bias, which is the result of prejudicial assumptions built into the technology through its machine-learning process—creates a significant lack of objectivity and quality. However, there are social media algorithms with AI that are manmade.
  • The spreading of misinformation, due to AI generating content too quickly, and using facts, statistics, or other information without vetting for quality and veracity. An increase in deepfakes from the use of AI in social media, which can have negative social and political consequences.
  • A rise in plagiarism, because AI parses the internet for the information it requires to create content and then compiles this without references or even changing the content.
  • Compliance issues, because many companies have not yet developed policies on how to use AI in their operations—this can potentially lead to conflicts of interest or the violation of industry regulations.
  • Users being wrongly penalized for infringing community guidelines, requiring a long appeals process to reinstate profiles or posts.
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How to Safely Use AI in Social Media

To mitigate the attendant risks in the disadvantages of social media, it is essential for users—especially businesses—to learn how to safely harness the power of AI technology for use on these sites. This will allow them to participate in the AI social media trend while also upholding a sense of responsibility to their customers—and to society at large. Although it requires a little more effort, here are some ways to responsibly wield social media AI:

1. Verify all AI-generated content

Because of how AI is used in social media, a lot of online content is automatically generated by this technology. However, AI is prone to biases and does not vet the content it creates, which can lead to the publishing of content that is rife with inaccuracies. As such, businesses should always validate and fact-check any AI content to ensure that they are not spreading misinformation. It is also useful to run AI content through plagiarism tools to avoid potential copyright violations.

2. Explain company policy around Social Media AI

Many social media users are already—justifiably—concerned about how social media sites manage their data. The use of AI in social media can compound these fears. Companies can assuage these fears by openly publishing policies about how they use social media AI to handle customer data, such as the collection and storage of user information for targeted advertising. In addition, it can be helpful to note the use of generative AI, such as pointing out images created with the technology, so that users are aware that the images are not entirely real.

3. Be aware of user sentiment

While AI in social media can be incredibly powerful for companies, it is crucial that user sentiment toward the use of this technology is monitored. In some cases, customers and audiences may react negatively to content generated with AI—there may be confusion or offense, for example. Companies need to consistently monitor feedback to ensure that if this happens, they can correct their use of AI for social media posts.

In conclusion, the intersection of social media and AI presents a fascinating landscape of opportunities and challenges. The widespread integration of AI in social media platforms has undeniably transformed the way individuals and businesses engage with digital spaces. From personalized content curation to automated advertising, the benefits are evident. However, the journey towards AI-driven social media is not without its concerns, notably in terms of privacy, bias, and the potential for misinformation. As we navigate this evolving terrain, it is imperative for users and businesses alike to approach the adoption of AI in social media with a sense of responsibility and transparency.

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