Meta halts collection of EU AI data in response to Irish DPC request

14 Jun 2024

Image: © gguy/

Meta regards the latest news as a ‘step backwards for European innovation’ and a further delay in ‘bringing the benefits of AI to people in Europe’.

Tech giant Meta has paused plans to train its large language models (LLMs) using public content shared by adults on Facebook and Instagram, following intensive discussion with the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC). 

Earlier this month privacy advocacy group Noyb expressed serious concerns about the plan, which was due to come into effect from 26 June. Noyb criticised Meta’s intentions to use AI training material sourced from public and licenced data as it could include personal information, thereby breaching GDPR rules. 

In a statement released today (14 June), the DPC welcomed news of Meta’s decision to pause the plans. “This decision followed intensive engagement between the DPC and Meta. The DPC, in cooperation with its fellow EU data protection authorities, will continue to engage with Meta on this issue.” 

Meta had previously suggested that individual consent could be negated as there is “legitimate interest” in the collection and processing of data. Meta also used this argument in a case last year, in relation to personalised advertising policies, but it was ultimately rejected by the European Court of Justice

Max Schrems, chair of Noyb, said the group would be closely monitoring any further developments, as “so far there is no official change of the Meta privacy policy, which would make this commitment legally binding”, noting cases are ongoing and there will have to be a determination made.

In response to its decision, Meta expressed its disappointment at the DPCs request to pause its LLM training. This is a step backwards for European innovation, competition in AI development and further delays bringing the benefits of AI to people in Europe, the statement read.

Meta said it remains highly confident that the approach complies with European laws and regulations and expressed a continued desire to advance Meta AI within Europe, despite these early roadblocks.

“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.”

Find out how emerging tech trends are transforming tomorrow with our new podcast, Future Human: The Series. Listen now on Spotify, on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Laura Varley is the Careers reporter for Silicon Republic