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NOYB Urges Immediate Action Against Meta’s Data Use for AI Training

Client Updates / Jun 30, 2024

Written by: Haim Ravia and Dotan Hammer

The Austrian non-profit privacy advocacy group NOYB (None of Your Business) has called for immediate action from national privacy watchdogs across the European Union in response to recent changes in Meta’s privacy policy, effective June 26, 2024. These changes allow Meta to use personal data, including years of personal posts, private images, and online tracking data, to train its AI models without specific user consent. NOYB argues that Meta subtly communicated these changes and justified them under the guise of “legitimate interest,” and make the opt-out process excessively complicated.

As a result, NOYB has filed complaints across 11 member states of the EU against Meta. It has urged data protection authorities in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Spain to initiate urgent procedures due to the impending changes.

Meta asserts that its approach aligns with privacy laws and AI development practices used by companies like Google and OpenAI. According to Meta, using public information shared by EU users is essential for providing personalized services, underscoring the importance of this data. The company also informed Facebook users that it may process information about non-users who appear in photos or are mentioned in posts or messages, even if they don’t have an account. Meta clarifies that it will only use data from users over 18 and offers an opt-out option via an online form, though it will not seek explicit consent.

Following Meta’s announcement, the Norwegian Consumer Council partnered with NOYB to file a legal complaint against Meta for violating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). They argue that Meta lacks a valid legal basis and has made the opt-out process overly difficult. The Consumer Council urged users to opt-out before June 26.

In response to the complaints filed by NOYB, privacy regulators in the EU, led by the Irish regulator, requested that Meta delay using data posted by European users on Facebook and Instagram. This prompted Meta to announce the suspension of the Meta AI project launch in Europe, effectively halting its plan to expand AI services to the European Union.

Click here to read the complaints against Meta.

Click here to read Meta’s blog post.

Click here to read the announcement of the Norwegian Consumer Council joining and supporting the 11 complaints that NOYB filed.