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Meta suspends launch of AI models in Europe at Ireland's request – 06/14/2024 5:53 pm

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((auto translation by Reuters, see disclaimer https://bit.ly/rtrsauto))

(Rewritten paragraph 1, Irish Privacy Regulator, UK Information Commissioner's Office, NOYB comments added to paragraphs 8-12) Foo Yun Chee

Meta platforms META.O will no longer introduce its Meta AI models in Europe, the American social media company said on Friday after Ireland's privacy regulator asked it to delay plans to mine Facebook and Instagram user data.

Meta's move follows complaints and appeals by advocacy group NOYB to data protection authorities in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Bas, Norway, Poland and Spain to take action against the company.

At issue is Meta's plan to use personal data to train artificial intelligence (AI) models without seeking consent, although the company said it would use publicly available and licensed online information.

Meta said on Friday that Ireland's privacy watchdog has asked for a delay in training large language models (LLMs) on public content shared by senior users of Facebook and Instagram.

“We are disappointed by the request from the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), our main regulator, on behalf of European data protection authorities. Since March,” the company said in an updated blog post.

According to them, the Irish request constitutes a step backwards for European innovation and competition in the field of AI development.

“Simply put, if we don't include regional information, it means we can only give people a second-rate experience, which means we can't launch Meta AI in Europe right now,” Meta said.

The DPC welcomed Meta's suspension, saying its decision was the result of intensive engagement with the regulator.

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Metta said delaying the launch of the AI ​​models would allow it to respond to requests from the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

The ICO welcomed Meta's decision and said it will continue to monitor leading generative AI developers, including Meta, and review the safeguards they have in place to ensure UK users' information rights are protected.

NOYB president Max Schrems attributed Meta's temporary closure to complaints lodged by the group last week.

“To date, there have been no official changes to Meta's privacy policy that would make this commitment legally binding. The complaints we filed are ongoing and will require further investigation. A decision,” he said in a statement.

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