Meta under fire for decision to train generative AI on user content

Occurred: June 2024

News that Meta is to train its generative AI models on content from Facebook and Instagram users sparked criticism from digital rights groups, users and content creators. 

Meta informed UK and European users of changes to its privacy policy that would enable it to train its AI models on their posts, images, image captions and comments.

The European Center for Digital Rights, Noyb, filed complaints in eleven European countries arguing that Meta’s plan would constitute an abuse of personal data and a breach of privacy. 

Noyb also criticised Meta for using “dark patterns” in user experience design to make opting out of data collection difficult, and that the policy would allow the company to use all public and non-public user data collected since 2007 for any undefined type of current and future AI technology.

Internationally, Meta has been criticised for offering different protections for EU and UK citizens than the rest of the world. Meta argued that the data collection is necessary to train AI services that reflect the diverse cultures and languages of the European communities who will use them. 

In response to the pressure, Meta reversed the decision following an objection from the Irish Data Protection Commission. 

➕ July 2024. UK data rights campaign orgnisation Open Rights Group filed a complaint with the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) arguing that Meta' AI policy has no “legitimate interest” under GDPR.

System 🤖

Operator: Meta

Developer: Meta

Country: Global

Sector: Technology

Purpose: Generate text; Generate images

Technology: Generative AI; Machine learning; Neural network; Deep learning

Issue: Privacy

Transparency: Governance