A top Meta executive said that the company was using Facebook and Instagram posts to train its new artificial intelligence system.
But Meta did not use private posts in an “effort to respect consumers’ privacy,” Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg told Reuters in an interview. He said private chats in the Messenger app were also excluded and the company “took steps to filter private details from public datasets used for training.”
Despite the assurances, Meta’s admission that it’s using public Facebook and Instagram posts to train its AI might not sit well with people. This isn’t the first time the company has dealt with questions about its ability to responsibly handle its users’ data.
Last December, Meta agreed to settle a class action lawsuit claiming the social media site illegally shared user data with third-party companies like Cambridge Analytica. It’s estimated that around 87 million Facebook users’ information was shared without their consent. Meta has denied any wrongdoing, but reached a settlement in the lawsuit stating that it was “in the best interest of our community and shareholders.”
Meta wasn’t immediately available to comment further on Clegg’s comments.
Meta is trying to catch up in the AI race, but the company has a lot of ground to cover. After ChatGPT went mainstream earlier this year, interest in generative AI exploded. The public and private sector’s voracious appetite for the technology has led industry experts to voice concerns about dangerous unintended consequences if AI is unregulated.
AI was a big deal and a central topic of conversation during the company’s annual products conference, Connect, which typically focuses on augmented and virtual reality.
We’re already seeing instances of industries finding themselves in tricky situations with AI. Multiple artists have been denied copyright protections for images they created using AI. Last month, Amazon said authors can only self-publish three books on its site in a single day after an influx of suspected AI-generated material was listed for sale.
Hollywood writers, meanwhile, successfully extracted protections against AI in its contract negotiations with big media companies, with actors sitting down with the studios today to hammer out similar terms.