Meta Uses Public User Data To Train AI Models

Meta has recently said that from June 26, all public user data from its platforms, such as texts, photos, and comments will be used to train its AI systems. This has concerned users who value privacy.

Many users feel a way about Meta using their personal data without explicit consent. And sure, it is true that users agree to terms and conditions when they sign up, but a lot of them are unaware that their data could be used for AI training. The little transparency practiced around this is making people worry about possible privacy invasions.

Opt-Out Mechanism


Mta has brought an opt-out mechanism for users who do not want their data used for AI training. But apparently, people find the process overly complicated and difficult to work through. The forms are dense and semi-hidden, making it really hard for users to find and complete them.

Even if a request is approved, it only applies to the user’s own data. Photos uploaded by friends, even if they feature the user, can still be used for AI training if the friends have not opted out.

There is growing speculation that privacy on platforms like Meta may come at a cost in the future. Users might have to pay for better privacy features to keep their data from being used. This goes back to the ongoing conversations we’ve had about the true cost of using “free” platforms and the value of personal privacy in the digital age.


Effect In Europe

Meta’s policy could be especially problematic in Europe due to the General Data Protection Regulation, commonly referred to as GDPR, and other privacy laws. These regulations are designed to protect user privacy and could impose restrictions or penalties on Meta if they are found to be in violation. European users have stronger privacy protections, including the right to opt out and request data deletion.

How To Opt-Out

Those wishing to prevent Meta from using their data for AI training can follow these steps:

  • Visit the opt-out form provided by Meta.
  • Fill out the necessary details and submit the form.
  • Await confirmation that the request has been processed.

While this process might seem straightforward, the complexity and obscurity of the form have led many to label it as a “dark pattern” or “deceptive design.”

Meta’s reliance on the “Legitimate Interest” clause to process user data has been contentious. This clause, which includes “commercial interests,” is seen as a loophole that companies can exploit. Regardless, users can object and request the deletion of their data under GDPR.

Meta’s Communication To Users

Meta has started emailing Instagram and Facebook users about the changes. The message informs users of the upcoming policy changes and their right to object. It reads:

“To help bring these experiences to you, we’ll now rely on the legal basis called legitimate interests for using your information to develop and improve AI at Meta. This means that you have the right to object to how your information is used for these purposes. If your objection is honoured, it will be applied from then on.”

Meta’s email and notification system have been called into question for the wording and implications, as users are asked to provide a reason for their objection. This has raised concerns about how seriously these objections will be taken and whether user privacy will be adequately protected.