Thursday, July 25, 2024

Meta says its AI in Europe will be worse than in America. Here’s why.

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Meta continues to face roadblocks in the EU.
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  • Meta said it won’t launch its AI assistant in Europe following pushback from regulators.
  • Regulators raised privacy concerns about Meta’s plan to scrape user data to train its AI.
  • But Meta says that data is essential to offer a useful product.

Meta is taking a “my way or the highway” approach with its generative AI product.

Meta announced Friday it won’t release its AI features in Europe because the EU’s stringent privacy regulations would make it a “second-rate experience.”

Meta said in a press release that it was “disappointed” by the Irish Data Protection Commission’s (DPC) request to “delay training our large language models (LLMs) using public content shared by adults on Facebook and Instagram,” calling it a “step backward for European innovation.”

“We are committed to bringing Meta AI, along with the models that power it, to more people around the world, including in Europe. But, put simply, without including local information we’d only be able to offer people a second-rate experience. This means we aren’t able to launch Meta AI in Europe at the moment,” the company said.

European regulators don’t seem all that torn up about it. In fact, they welcomed the announcement.

“The DPC welcomes the decision by Meta to pause its plans to train its large language model using public content shared by adults on Facebook and Instagram across the EU/EEA,” the commission said in a press release on Friday, referring to the European Union and the European Economic Area.

Meta has faced heightened scrutiny in Europe over its plans to use public content from its apps to train its AI. Earlier this month, a European advocacy group called for a halt to Meta’s data scraping plans, saying the company would use “years of personal posts, private images, or online tracking data” to train its AI.

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