Many creatives are frustrated with Meta’s perceived effort to allow them to request the removal of their personal data and work from being used to train the company’s generative AI models. It turned out that what they believed the request form to be – an AI opt-out tool – was actually not the fact.
Artists Decries Meta’s AI Data Deletion Effort
Meta reportedly introduced the request form in August. It was titled “Generative AI Data Subject Rights at Facebook” and was supposed to enable people to request access and remove their works from the third-party data Meta uses in AI development.
One could easily guess that the move from Meta was made in response to the growing concern and lawsuits from artists and writers, especially regarding how their works are unauthorisedly harvested by AI companies. However, many who tried to use the request form were disappointed.
WIRED interviewed artists who made requests to Meta using the form. To most of them, Meta responded that is “unable to process the request” until they provide evidence proving that their personal data appears on responses from the company’s AI models. Some called the whole process “horrible” and “a bad joke.”
“I started to feel like it was just a fake PR stunt to make it look like they were actually trying to do something,” said Bethany Berg, a Colorado-based conceptual artist, who severally requested to remove her data.
Meta’s Request Form Was Never an Opt-Out Tool
While responding to the agitation about the request form, a spokesperson for Meta, Thomas Richards, said the people are confused and have overexaggerated the function of the request form. The form was never an opt-out tool, according to Richards.
“I think there is some confusion about what that form is and the controls we offer. We don’t currently offer a feature for people to opt-out of their information from our products and services being used to train our AI models,” Richards said.
Richards noted that requesting for data removal using the form does not guarantee automatic deletion of the work. Also, people may exercise their data subject rights, depending on where they live, meaning the form may make no difference for people in a jurisdiction without the rules.
“Submitting a request doesn’t mean that your third-party information will be automatically removed from our AI training models. We’re reviewing requests in accordance with local laws, as different jurisdictions have different requirements,” Richards said.