Meta is pausing its plans to train its AI using EU users’ data on their platforms

Meta (the parent company of Facebook, Instagram & WhatsApp) has been pushed to take a breather on their plans to analyse and train their upcoming AI features with users’ data shared on their platforms.

The move follows pushback from the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), Meta’s lead regulator in the EU, which is acting on behalf of several data protection authorities across the bloc. The U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) also requested that Meta pause its plans until it could satisfy concerns it had raised. “The DPC welcomes the decision by Meta to pause its plans to train its large language model using public content shared by adults on Facebook and Instagram across the EU/EEA,” the DPC said in a statement Friday. “This decision followed intensive engagement between the DPC and Meta. The DPC, in cooperation with its fellow EU data protection authorities, will continue to engage with Meta on this issue.”

While Meta is already tapping user-generated content to train its AI in markets such as the U.S., Europe’s stringent GDPR regulations has created obstacles for Meta — and other companies — looking to improve their AI systems, including large language models with user-generated training material. However, Meta last month began notifying users of an upcoming change to its privacy policy, one that it said will give it the right to use public content on Facebook and Instagram to train its AI, including content from comments, interactions with companies, status updates, photos and their associated captions. The company argued that it needed to do this to reflect “the diverse languages, geography and cultural references of the people in Europe.”

Originally written by TechCrunch

A couple of weeks ago I found instructions on how to deny Meta to use your data and opt out of them using your shared content to train their AI. You had to fill out a form, with your details and give a brief note on why you don’t want to be a part of the process.

At the time, it seemed a bit ineffective, and I doubted that it would actually stop them, but it also seemed official enough, y’know? My thought was “yeah I’m covered I signed a contract saying they couldn’t do that”, but then contract was probably full of small print. I submitted it anyway.

I am not surprised that their plans to do this were going to cause outrage across the user-base. In a time where AI-gen is providing readers and users across the world with content, without anyone knowing how or where its been trained and getting its data from, Meta was always going to be the company that gets the most backlash.

Adobe had a similar issue the same week which they have since rectified in an overhauled Terms of Service.