Can I turn off Meta AI scraping on Instagram and Facebook? A type of.

Last month, Meta announced that it would expand its AI services around the world, and the company let users in Europe know that it would use their public information to train its AI services starting June 26 .

Notifications sent to Facebook and Instagram users in Europe informing them that their public posts could be used to train artificial intelligence services, including Meta's chatbot, raised privacy concerns and backlash as users wondered where it would be the policy change came into effect.

But for those who live in the United States, where online privacy laws aren't as strict, Meta AI has already used public posts to train its AI. It's unclear where else Meta might expand the program.

Privacy watchdogs have raised concerns about the use of data and the lack of details about what Meta will do with people's information. But Meta says that it is complying with privacy laws and that the information it is collecting will make the services more relevant to users in a particular region.

Here's what to know about Meta's AI chatbot and how you can opt out of sharing your information.

Meta AI is an AI-powered smart assistant software, available on apps including Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram – it can be used in feeds, chat and search. Similar to OpenAI's ChatGPT, Apple's Siri, or Amazon's Alexa, it is designed to respond to almost any suggestion made by the user.

For example, you might ask: Who is the greatest tennis player of all time?

“The eternal debate!” Meta AI answered this question. “While opinions may vary, many experts and fans consider Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic among the greatest tennis players of all time.”

Meta AI is powered by LLaMA 3, the company's powerful new large language model, an AI technology that can conduct conversations and create images.

The announcement to European users sparked some backlash on Reddit, Tiktok and Twitter, including in the US, where Meta was not required to notify users – and therefore users may not have realized – that it was training its AI with their public posts.

When asked, the intelligent assistant said it learned from “a huge set of text data” online. The information came from web pages, books, articles and research papers. But some of the data sets also come from social media posts, including Facebook and Instagram posts, Meta AI said, adding that its lineup came from “anonymous and aggregated” data.

On a page about its generative AI capabilities, Meta said that photos and text from public posts on Instagram and Facebook were used to train its generative AI models, but that private posts and messages were not have been used. User requests for AI features are also fair game.

A spokesperson for Meta – and its chatbot – did not specify exactly how public information was used other than to “build and improve AI experiences.” It's unclear when Meta began collecting data from US-based users

For Meta users in the United States, there is no way to prevent Meta AI from learning from public social media posts, as there are no specific privacy laws regarding this.

“While we do not currently have an opt-out feature, we have built tools built into the platform that allow people to delete their personal information from chats with Meta AI across our apps,” Meta said in a statement Friday.

According to Meta, those using Meta apps within the European Union, Great Britain, the European Economic Area and Switzerland were informed that they could opt out.

Visit the Meta Privacy Center from your Facebook account, click “data settings” and then “off-Facebook activity.” Then select “manage your data” and turn off “data sharing” and “AI model training”.

In EU countries, users will also see “GDPR settings”. From there, users can click “exercise my rights” and submit an opt-out request. Users must also provide a reason for opting out.

On Instagram, users can tap “settings,” then “about,” and finally “privacy policy,” which will take you to information about Meta AI and how to turn it off.

In Facebook's legal terms, the company states that “if you share a photo on Facebook, you give us permission to store it, copy it, and share it with others.” Depending on your settings, that photo can be used for other Meta products, according to the company.

In Europe, despite the opt-out functionality introduced by Meta to comply with privacy laws, watchdog groups have raised concerns about the broad nature of data use.

The European Center for Digital Rights, known as NOYB (None of Your Business), has filed complaints in several European countries about Meta's policy change.

“Meta doesn't say what it will use the data for, so it could be a simple chatbot, extremely aggressive personalized advertising, or even a killer drone,” Max Schrems, president and founder of NOYB, said in a press release.

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