No, You Can’t Opt Out of Meta Using Your Posts for AI Training

Okay, this is probably not news to the majority of people who have some understanding of how social media works (that likely means you, good SMT readers).

But this:

Meta AI opt out post

This doesn’t mean jack.

And tennis star Rafael Nadal isn’t the only one posting these types of “opt out” posts, trying to stop Meta from using their content to train its A.I. models with hundreds of thousands of similar posts appearing online over the past week.

But posting something on the platform is not enough to exercise your “rights”. In fact, you’re actually just giving Meta more content to harvest, if it so chooses.

The actual legal technicalities here are included in Meta’s user agreements, which you sign up to whenever you create a profile in any of its apps.

Instagram Terms of Use

This is from Instagram’s Terms of Service, and you’ll note:

“…you hereby grant to us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sublicensable, worldwide licence to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate and create derivative works of your content.”

That license only ends “when your content is deleted from our systems.

“Does that include training A.I. models on your content?”

Yes, yes it does.

As noted by Meta’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox in a recent interview with Bloomberg:

So things that you mark as private, or share in private spaces, like DMs, are not used for A.I. training.  But anything you post publicly falls under this license.

Meta also reiterated this in a blog post just last month:

We use publicly available online and licensed information to train AI at Meta, as well as the information that people have shared publicly on Meta’s products and services. This information includes things like public posts or public photos and their captions. In the future, we may also use the information people share when interacting with our generative AI features, like Meta AI, or with a business, to develop and improve our AI products. We don’t use the content of your private messages with friends and family to train our AIs.

So yes, Meta can use, and is using your public posts to train its evolving A.I. systems.

“That doesn’t seem right, how do we opt out?”

You can’t. Well, unless you live in E.U.

Because of the recent changes in European data usage regulations, E.U. users will soon be able to opt out of having their posts used for A.I. training via its “Right to Object” option.

Other than that, no, you can’t stop Meta using your content to train its A.I. models, unless you delete your content, or mark everything as private or friends only. And that only works from now on, you can’t do this retrospectively.

But uploading a statement to your IG Story does absolutely nothing in this respect.

So if you were reading these posts and thinking “I wonder if that works?” No, it doesn’t. But that won’t stop them internet-trained legal experts from trying to find a loophole.

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