Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Protecting Privacy: Steps to Prevent Meta from Using Your Data in AI Training

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In response to growing concerns about user data privacy and the use of personal information for AI model training, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) has introduced a new feature that allows users to have more control over their data. Users can now delete specific personal information that might be used by the company in training generative AI models.

The feature is provided through a form called “Generative AI Data Subject Rights,” which is accessible through the Facebook help centre resource section. This form enables users to submit requests pertaining to their third-party information being utilized for training generative AI models.

The decision to implement this opt-out tool comes at a time when generative AI technology is becoming increasingly prominent in the tech industry. Many companies are developing advanced chatbots and enhancing their AI models to create more sophisticated responses and visuals. By offering users the choice to access, modify, or remove their personal data from the third-party data sources that Meta uses for training its extensive language and AI models, the company is aiming to address concerns related to data privacy and give individuals greater agency over how their information is used.

Meta’s move reflects a growing trend in the tech industry to provide users with more transparency and control over their data, particularly in the context of AI development and model training.

On the form, Meta refers to third-party information as data “that is publicly available on the internet or licensed sources.” This kind of information, the company says, can represent some of the “billions of pieces of data” used to train generative AI models that “use predictions and patterns to create new content.”

In a recent blog post, Meta, the company behind platforms like Facebook and Instagram, shared insights into how it gathers information to improve its AI models. They acquire data from two main sources: the broader internet and external data providers. This assortment of data includes various types of content, such as blog posts, which might contain personal details like names and contact information.

However, Meta’s newly introduced feature that allows users to manage their data, called the “Generative AI Data Subject Rights” form, focuses solely on data coming from sources outside of Meta’s own platforms. This means that activities users engage in within the Meta-owned ecosystem, such as leaving comments on Facebook or posting photos on Instagram, might still contribute to the training of their AI models.

Consequently, even if users choose to opt out of having third-party data used for AI training, data generated within the Meta ecosystem might still be utilized. Essentially, this indicates that Meta has the potential to leverage the information users share on their platforms to refine their AI models, regardless of whether users exercise the opt-out option for other external data sources.

Users should be aware that while they can control some external data usage through the opt-out form, their actions on Meta-owned platforms could continue to play a role in enhancing Meta’s AI capabilities.

A group of data protection agencies from countries like the U.K., Canada, and Switzerland recently joined forces to send a collective message to major tech players including Meta (formerly Facebook), Alphabet (Google’s parent company), ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company), X (previously Twitter), Microsoft, and others. The message highlighted concerns about data scraping and the need to safeguard user privacy. This effort underscores the global push for better data privacy standards and responsible data handling by these influential tech companies.

The letter was intended to remind social media and tech companies that they remain subject to various data protection and privacy laws around the world and “that they protect personal information accessible on their websites from data scraping, particularly so that they are compliant with data protection and privacy laws around the world.”

Individuals can also take steps to protect their personal information from data scraping, and social media companies have a role to play in enabling users to engage with their services in a privacy protective manner

the group said in the statement.

Here’s how you can delete some of your Facebook data used for training generative AI models:

  1. Visit Meta’s privacy policy page related to generative AI.
  2. Look for the link that says “Learn more and submit requests here” and click on it.
  3. You will be presented with three options that Meta provides to address different issues or concerns:
    • The first option allows users to access, download, or correct their personal information gathered from third-party sources, which is utilized to train generative AI models.
    • The second option lets users delete any personal information sourced from third-party data providers, which is used for training generative AI models.
    • The third option is for individuals who have a different issue or concern not covered by the first two choices.
  4. Choose the option that best suits your situation by clicking on it.
  5. After selecting an option, you might need to complete a security check test to verify that you are a legitimate user.
  6. Some users have encountered difficulties in completing the form due to what seems to be a software glitch or bug.

The form offers three choices to users:

1. Access, Download, or Correct Personal Information

Users can access, download, or correct personal data obtained from external sources, which is utilized to train AI models.

2. Delete Personal Information

This option lets users remove their personal information from the third-party data sources used for AI model training.

3. Different Issue:

The third option caters to users who have concerns not covered by the previous two choices.

Upon selecting any of these options, users will need to successfully pass a security check test. Some users have reported encountering difficulties in completing the form due to what seems to be a software glitch.

In today’s tech-driven world, the information we share is like a building block for AI systems. Now, with Meta’s new “Generative AI Data Subject Rights” form, you can have a say in how your data is usedto train AI models. It’s like having a remote control for your data. You can choose to look at, fix, or even erase some of the personal stuff you’ve shared from other places. This puts you in the driver’s seat of your data journey. It’s a big step towards making sure your privacy matters in the tech world. As things keep changing, using this form can help make AI and data work better for you and your privacy.

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