PYMNTS MonitorEdge May 2024

Meta’s AI Training Plans Targeted by EU Privacy Group

Meta AI

Meta’s plans for training its AI have run afoul of a European privacy group.

Vienna-based NOYB — the European Center for Digital Rights —  said Thursday (June 6) it had filed complaints with 11 European countries, arguing that Meta’s use of user data in its AI proposed AI practices violate the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The group asks the 11 countries to take action before Meta’s proposed privacy policy changes go into effect June 26.

“Meta is basically saying that it can use ‘any data from any source for any purpose and make it available to anyone in the world,’ as long as it’s done via ‘AI technology,’” said NYOB founder Max Schrems. “This is clearly the opposite of GDPR compliance.”

Reached for comment Thursday, a spokesperson for Meta directed PYMNTS to a company blog post outlining its AI plans in Europe.

In it, the company says its approach is “consistent with how other tech companies are developing and improving their AI experiences in Europe.”

Meta also says it is confident this approach complies with the law, and says it uses only public data from people 18 and over — that is, no data from user messages — and that it allows users to opt out at any point.

NOYB argues Meta’s new privacy policy would let it use all user data it had collected since 2007 for current and future AI products, as well as allowing the company to collect information from any “third party” or scrape data from online sources.

The group’s latest campaign follows a complaint filed in April against OpenAI, alleging that the company’s ChatGPT created false personal information about an unnamed complainant, and could not totally correct the inaccuracies.

“Making up false information is quite problematic in itself,” Maartje de Graaf, data protection lawyer at NOYB, said in a statement. “But when it comes to false information about individuals, there can be serious consequences.”

Meanwhile, Meta last month created a product advisory council to oversee the company’s AI efforts, made up of four tech executives from other companies who will offer their insights and recommendations on technological advancements, innovation and growth opportunities.

During Meta’s most recent earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg brought up AI and the metaverse within the first minute, as the company said it plans to spend $5 billion more than it initially forecasted developing new AI products for consumers, developers, businesses and hardware manufacturers.

“Meta’s announcement of its $35 billion investment in AI signaled an aggressive push in the escalating tech arms race, setting new precedents for how tech giants capitalize on advancements in this technology,” PYMNTS wrote last month.

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