NIX Solutions: Meta’s AI Data Usage Controversy

Meta’s attempt to use personal data from its platform users to train artificial intelligence without obtaining explicit consent has faced criticism from the Austrian human rights group NOYB (None Of Your Business). NOYB has urged European privacy agencies to intervene and prevent this scenario.

NIX Solutions

Privacy Policy Changes and Legal Challenges

The updated privacy policy from Meta, effective June 26, permits the company to utilize years of users’ private messages, personal photos, and online tracking data for AI training. In response, NOYB filed 11 complaints with data protection authorities across Europe, including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Spain. These complaints call for urgent examination of the policy changes.

Meta refuted NOYB’s accusations, referencing a May 22 blog post where it stated that only publicly available and licensed information, along with publicly shared user data about products and services, is used for AI training. The company also informed users that it reserves the right to process information about individuals who do not use its services or have accounts if they appear in images or are mentioned in messages posted by users, adds NIX Solutions. A Meta spokesperson asserted, “We are confident that our approach complies with privacy laws and is consistent with how other technology companies are developing and improving AI functions in Europe (including Google and OpenAI).”

Legal and Ethical Concerns

NOYB’s founder, Max Schrems, pointed out that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has previously stated that Meta has no “legitimate interest” in violating a user’s right to data protection for advertising purposes. Schrems criticized Meta for using similar arguments to justify AI training, describing the company’s approach as shifting responsibility onto users, which he termed “completely absurd.” Schrems emphasized that the law mandates Meta to obtain user consent rather than providing a “hidden and misleading opt-out form.” He asserted, “If Meta wants to use your data, they must ask for permission. But instead, they force users to beg for exclusion.”

We’ll keep you updated on further developments regarding this issue.