Meta pauses plans to train AI with user data

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has paused its plans to introduce AI tools in Europe at the request of Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC).

In a blog post, the technology giant said it is “disappointed” by the request from DPC, where it had intended to use public posts, including images and videos shared on its platforms, to train AI large language models (LLMs) aimed at creating generative AI experiences.

Subscribe to Mobile Marketing Magazine

Click here to get the latest marketing news free in your inbox every Thursday

The Irish DPC stated on Friday [14 June 2024] that Meta’s decision followed extensive discussions with the Commission.

As a result, the organisation welcomed Meta’s decision and will continue to collaborate with Meta and other European Data Protection Authorities (DPAs).

“This is a step backwards for European innovation, competition in AI development and further delays bringing the benefits of AI to people in Europe, Meta said.

“We remain highly confident that our approach complies with European laws and regulations. AI training is not unique to our services, and we’re more transparent than many of our industry counterparts.

“We are committed to bringing Meta AI, along with the models that power it, to more people around the world, including in Europe. But, put simply, without including local information we’d only be able to offer people a second-rate experience. This means we aren’t able to launch Meta AI in Europe at the moment.”

It added: “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.

“This delay will also enable us to address specific requests we have received from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), our UK regulator, ahead of starting the training.”

Meanwhile, ICO Executive Director, Regulatory Risk, Stephen Almond, added: “We are pleased that Meta has reflected on the concerns we shared from users of their service in the UK, and responded to our request to pause and review plans to use Facebook and Instagram user data to train generative AI.

“To get the most out of generative AI and the opportunities it brings, it is crucial that the public can trust that their privacy rights will be respected from the outset.

“We will continue to monitor major developers of generative AI, including Meta, to review the safeguards they have put in place and ensure the information rights of UK users are protected,” he concluded.