Advocacy group challenges Meta's use of personal data for AI training

They argued that Meta's new policy violates users' privacy rights

Advocacy group challenges Meta's use of personal data for AI training

Advocacy group NOYB (None of Your Business) has called on European privacy enforcers to intervene against Meta’s (META.O) plan to use personal data to train its artificial intelligence (AI) models without seeking user consent.

The change, set to take effect on June 26, has sparked significant controversy, Reuters reported.

NOYB has launched 11 complaints against Meta, urging data protection authorities in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Spain to take immediate action. The group argued that Meta’s updated privacy policy would allow the company to use years of personal posts, private images, and online tracking data for its AI technology, a move NOYB believes violates user privacy rights.

Meta has rejected NOYB’s criticism, referencing a May 22 blog post stating that it uses publicly available and licensed information and data shared publicly on its platforms to train its AI models. A message sent to Facebook users further explained that Meta might process information about individuals who do not use its services if they appear in an image or are mentioned in a post shared by a user.

A Meta spokesperson asserted, “We are confident that our approach complies with privacy laws, and our approach is consistent with how other tech companies are developing and improving their AI experiences in Europe, including Google and OpenAI.”

However, NOYB founder Max Schrems contended that Meta’s actions directly conflict with a 2021 ruling by the European Court of Justice (CJEU). Schrems stated, “The CJEU has already made it clear that Meta has no ‘legitimate interest’ to override users’ right to data protection when it comes to advertising. Yet the company is trying to use the same arguments for the training of undefined ‘AI technology’. It seems that Meta is once again blatantly ignoring the judgments of the CJEU.”

Schrems also criticized the complexity of opting out of data usage, calling it “extremely complicated” and asserting that Meta should obtain opt-in consent rather than providing a “hidden and misleading opt-out form.” He added, “If Meta wants to use your data, they have to ask for your permission. Instead, they made users beg to be excluded.”

Meta has previously cited a legitimate interest in using users' data to train and develop AI models and tools, which can be shared with third parties. NOYB has filed multiple complaints against Meta and other major tech companies over alleged breaches of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which carries potential fines of up to 4 percent of a company’s global turnover for violations.

 

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