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Meta is planning to use your Facebook and Instagram posts to train AI – and not everyone can opt out

If you have an Instagram or Facebook account in the UK or European Union, everything you share publicly on those platforms may soon be used to train artificial intelligence (AI).

From today, Meta was going to use the posts to train its AI model, but it faced 11 legal challenges in Europe.

The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) then asked the technology giant to delay training the large language models, which Meta’s global engagement director for privacy policy Stefano Fratta called “disappointing”.

Meta sources say they hope the delay will be resolved over the summer.

Noyb – a European campaign group that advocates for digital rights – lodged the complaints, saying Meta’s changes “override the fundamental right to data protection and privacy of European users”.

After pausing its plans to use Facebook and Instagram posts to train AI, Meta said: “We are following the example set by others, including Google and OpenAI, both of which have already used data from Europeans to train AI.

“Our approach is more transparent and offers easier controls than many of our industry counterparts already training their models on similar publicly available information.”

What you can do if you are a Facebook or Instagram user

Users in the European Union and the UK are protected by strict data protection rules and have the right to object to their data being taken and used.

When the delayed plans are put back into action, users will be notified again about the upcoming changes.

That is likely to come in the form of a notification or email from Meta and will give users the opportunity to object before the changes come into force.

Pic: Reuters
Image:
Pic: Reuters

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Meta is currently pointing users towards a form they can fill in to explain why they don’t want their data used.

It doesn’t guarantee it will accept the request but Meta does say it will “review objection requests in accordance with relevant data protection laws”.

For users in the US or another country without those data privacy laws, there’s no option to opt out.

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The company has also delayed releasing Meta AI in Europe because of the delays.

“Put simply, without including local information we’d only be able to offer people [in Europe] a second-rate experience,” said Mr Fratta in a statement.

“This means we aren’t able to launch Meta AI in Europe at the moment.”

“We will continue to work collaboratively with the DPC so that people in Europe have access to and are properly served by the same level of AI innovation as the rest of the world.”

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