Meta AI temporarily stopped in the EU

Meta AI
Translate from : Meta AI midlertidigt stoppet i EU
Meta Platforms pauses the launch of Meta AI in the EU due to data protection concerns. No AI models are trained with European user data so far.

Meta Platforms, the parent company behind Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has just announced that they will not launch Meta AI, their artificial intelligence platform, in the EU for the time being. The reason, as is so often the case with Meta, is the concerns of data protection lawyers.

Meta has agreed with the Irish Data Protection Authority (DPC), which is responsible for Meta's European headquarters in Dublin, not to train its AI models with data from European users who have posted it on Facebook or Instagram for now. Meta AI is a standalone chatbot in the style of ChatGPT, which has the unique selling point of being able to create images based on prompts in real time.

The AI models are also integrated in other ways, e.g. in searches on Instagram or WhatsApp, but currently only for users in non-EU markets. That's how it will stay. "DPC welcomes Meta's decision to suspend their plans to train their large language model using public content shared by adults on Facebook and Instagram across the EU/EEA. This decision followed intensive engagement between DPC and Meta. DPC, in collaboration with its fellow EU data protection authorities, will continue to engage with Meta on this issue," Ireland stated.

However, they are still very confident that Meta's approach will comply with European laws and regulations, so far no changes have been made to data protection rules. "We are committed to making Meta AI and the models that underpin it accessible to more people around the world, including in Europe. But without incorporating local information, we will only be able to offer people a second-rate experience. This means we cannot currently launch Meta AI in Europe," they continue.

“We are disappointed by the request by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), our lead supervisory authority, on behalf of the European data protection authorities, to postpone the training of our large language models (LLMs) on public content shared by adults on Facebook and Instagram – particularly as we have taken into account the feedback from the regulators and the European data protection authorities have been informed since March, this is a step back for European innovation and competition in AI development and will lead to further delays in delivering the benefits of AI to the people of Europe ," Stefano Fratta, Global Engagement Director and Meta's Privacy Policy Officer, said in a statement.

Meta doesn't seem to want to deviate from the practice of using user data for AI purposes. "We're following the lead of others, including Google and OpenAI, both of which have already used data from Europeans to train AI. Our approach is more transparent and offers simpler controls than many of our competitors who already train their models on similar publicly available information ," adds Fratta. "The models are built using information from people to recognize patterns, such as understanding everyday expressions or local references, and not to identify a specific person or their information."

This would be in accordance with European laws and regulations. It was previously communicated that publicly available content from Instagram and Facebook users (not private messages) would be used to train the AI models, and there was also an option to object to the use of data for these AI training purposes. Meta AI has also received 11 complaints from data protection organizations in Europe, including the Austrian NGO noyb, along with other organizations.

"We welcome this development but will keep a close eye on it. So far, there is no official change to the Meta data protection rules that would make this commitment legally binding. The complaints we have filed are not yet closed and now need to be decided, Max Schrems, chairman of noyb, said in a statement. He sees the temporary end of Meta AI in the EU as a success for the pressure that had been built up by the complaints.

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