3 min. reading

Opting Out of Meta’s Use of Facebook, Instagram Posts For AI Training Isn’t Simple

Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, has changed its privacy policy as of June 26, 2024. In response to user concerns, Meta has sent over 2 billion in-app notifications and emails to people in Europe since 22 May with a link to an opt-out form to object to Meta using their data for AI training purposes.

Opting Out of Meta’s Use of Facebook, Instagram Posts For AI Training Isn’t Simple
Source: Depositphotos

Several videos on social media have surfaced on the topic, allegedly showing step by step how to object to Meta scraping your data for this purpose. One such video on TikTok has over 4.3 million views and 5,500 comments and was shared over 149,000 times. Skeptical posts about the opt-out feature are also shared on Reddit, X and Instagram.

 

Source: Snopes.com

The feature was available to Meta’s European Region and UK customers but not to US users. The New York Times reported that Meta didn’t have to notify users and therefore users may not have even known it was training its AI with their public posts.

Meta’s page “How Meta uses information for generative AI models and features” says users have the right to object to the information they’ve shared on Meta’s Products and services being used to develop and improve AI at Meta. Meta is consulting with the lead privacy regulator in the EU, the Irish Data Protection Commission and has incorporated their feedback to ensure that the way they train AI at Meta complies with EU privacy laws.

A company that uses users’ data for AI training has faced widespread criticism from the European Center for Digital Rights (noyb), a non-profit organization focusing on enforcing digital rights and privacy laws. The group filed complaints in 11 European countries asking authorities to launch an urgency procedure to stop the change before it comes into force on 26 June 2024. Meta’s opt-out process is too complicated and time consuming and even requires personal reasons.

Source: Facebook Help Center for European users

The European Court of Justice has already made it clear that Meta has no ‘legitimate interest’ to override users’ right to data protection when it comes to advertising. Meta also says user data can be shared with any “third party” – meaning anyone in the world.

Meta says it’s honoring all objections from European users and it’s not using people’s private messages with friends and family to train its AI systems. But it has been told by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) it will not process EU/EEA user data for undefined ‘artificial intelligence techniques’. Meta remains highly confident that its approach complies with European laws and regulations and is committed to bringing Meta AI and its models to more people around the world, including in Europe.

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