Meta Delays AI Launch in Europe Amid Privacy Regulator’s Directive and Advocacy Group Pressure

Meta criticized the Irish request, calling it a setback for European innovation and competition in AI development.

Meta Platforms (META.O) will not launch its Meta AI models in Europe for now. The decision follows a directive from the Irish privacy regulator to delay using data from Facebook and Instagram users. This U.S. social media giant revealed the delay on Friday.

The action comes after complaints and advocacy group NOYB urged data protection authorities in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Spain to intervene against Meta.

Meta’s plan involves using personal data to train its AI models without seeking consent. However, Meta stated it would only use publicly available and licensed information online.

On Friday, Meta confirmed that the Irish privacy watchdog requested a delay in training its large language models (LLMs) using public content from adult Facebook and Instagram users.

“We’re disappointed by the request from the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), our lead regulator, on behalf of the European DPAs… particularly since we incorporated regulatory feedback and the European DPAs have been informed since March,” the company stated in an updated blog post.

Meta criticized the Irish request, calling it a setback for European innovation and competition in AI development.

The company added, “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 DPC welcomed Meta’s pause, citing intensive engagement with the regulator as the reason for its decision.

Meta noted that the delayed launch would also give it time to address requests from Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The ICO welcomed Meta’s decision, pledging to continue monitoring major generative AI developers, including Meta, to review their safeguards and protect the information rights of UK users.

Max Schrems, NOYB’s chair, linked Meta’s temporary halt to the group’s recent complaints.

“So far there is no official change of the Meta privacy policy, which would make this commitment legally binding.

“The cases we filed are ongoing and will need a determination,” he said in a statement.