Meta Platforms to use social media posts from Europe to train AI

June 12, 2024 - 3:18 PM
Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta is seen on smartphone in front of displayed logo of Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Whatsapp and Oculus in this illustration picture taken October 28, 2021. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

Facebook owner Meta Platforms META.O plans to start incorporating social media content from Europe to train its generative artificial intelligence models, the company said on Monday.

Meta will train its Llama large language models using content that people in the European Union have chosen to share publicly on its platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, it said in a blog post.

The shift appears to bring the company’s approach in Europe roughly in line with how it treats the data it feeds into its AI models from elsewhere around the world, despite earlier caution due to stringent EU privacy and transparency regulations.

Meta’s top policy executive told Reuters in an interview in September that it uses public Facebook and Instagram posts to train its Llama models, while excluding private posts and messages shared only with friends.

As of April, when the company started releasing the latest versions of Llama, Meta was “still working on the right way to do this in Europe,” its chief product officer told Reuters at the time.

The social media giant said last month that it would start notifying Facebook and Instagram users in the European region and the United Kingdom about how it uses public information shared on Meta’s services to develop and improve AI.

Advocacy group NYOB (none of your business) has filed complaints challenging the move in countries across Europe, saying the notifications were insufficient as EU privacy rules required Meta to obtain opt-in consent from users.

—Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru and Katie Paul in New York; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Emelia Sithole-Matarise