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Meta Begins Training AI on Users’ Data, Makes It Difficult To Opt Out

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

Anyone with even some cursory knowledge of how user interface/experience (UX) but also user behavior works will tell you that “default (settings) is king.”

That is why the ability to “opt-out” (that is, remove yourself from a feature baked in as default) although it seems fair enough at first glance, is actually often a deliberate choice to harm users’ interests, by banking on their inertia.

But then when even that option is degraded to what some refer as “nearly impossible to opt out” – things start looking really bad.

They get even worse when you learn that this concerns your personal data being used to train AI models. And by none other than that paragon of habitual disrespect for user privacy and security, Meta.

This is what Instagram and Facebook users in the EU (and the UK) are being told about the whole “operation”: “We’re getting ready to expand our AI at Meta experiences to your region.”

Screenshot from Meta

But “your region” – i.e., the UK and the 27-member bloc, have some fairly strict legislation in place, at least formally, to protect privacy and security of online data. And so the Meta message sent to them continued:

“To help bring these experiences to you, we’ll now rely on the legal basis called legitimate interests for using your information to develop and improve AI at Meta. This means that you have the right to object to how your information is used for these purposes. If your objection is honored, it will be applied from then on.”

“If your objection is honored” – might just be the most bizarre example of corporations trying to get “opt-out” to mean squat.

Outrageous as this looks, that’s by no means the end or the worst of the story: if you’re not in the UK or the EU – you won’t even get the “courtesy” of this notification that’s wrong to begin with, in so many ways.

Screenshot from Meta

That’s because the EU has legislation supposed to strongly protect privacy, GDPR, and the UK, after leaving the bloc, enacted much the same rules.

In other words, elsewhere in the world, you don’t even know what new ways Meta has found to, eventually and effectively, monetize your data without your knowledge.

And now for the real point of the story: how will the EU (and the UK) react to all this?

Always quick to turn the screw on Meta in a bid to make it expand its censorship – will these governments even react to the giant making a mockery of their data protection laws by adding a gazillion hurdles to the “opt out” process?

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

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