back to article How to ask Facebook's Meta to not train its AI models on some of your personal info

Netizens can ask Meta, the home of Facebook, Instagram, and Threads, to not train its generative AI models on at least some of their personal data. Like pretty much all businesses developing AI systems capable of producing text, images, and more, the social media giant scrapes the internet for material to teach various models …

  1. ChoHag Silver badge

    > they may be able to exercise their ... rights

    Succinct summary of facebook.

    1. Helcat Bronze badge

      Let me guess: The emphasis is on 'may'.

      1. Woodnag

        Netizens can ask Meta

        "Netizens can ask Meta"... There is no ask, just do and do not.

        I suspect that here: ask ----> do not.

      2. NATTtrash

        Some might ask: what ever happened to the meaning of "opt in"?

  2. Securitymoose

    And why should we tell Meta anything?

    When you sign up they ask a number of personal questions. There is no validation check, so when they ask date of birth for example, why would you tell them the truth (I know people do)?

    Yes they monitor your posts, but you then have the opportunity to skew your comments whichever way you like. Love pigeons, hate ice-cream, got baked beans and caviar for dinner, drive an electric Model T Ford? I pity A.I. having to try to sort out something meaningful from that lot.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: And why should we tell Meta anything?

      Eh, I tried to sign up when a friend retired, to keep in touch, and they said "that's not your real name" and demanded a driver's license and other ID.

      I laughed, and now have a funny story to tell when people ask why I'm not on assbook.

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: And why should we tell Meta anything?

        I've never been on Farcebok, and never intend to.

        At work we had to get some data off a Faecesbook API, which required an FB account. Naturally we made one up.

        It then asked for a mobile phone number. None of us wanted to part with such PII, so we asked a European colleague (no longer working with us) with a corporate mobile. This was accepted.

        It then asked for photo ID. Obviously none of us was going to provide that, but an American colleague (no longer working with us) was prepared to send a driving licence scan.

        They can ask for ID, but it doesn't have to be you. So far as I know, it doesn't even have to be valid.


        1. Snake Silver badge

          Re: And why should we tell Meta anything?

          No. Just because [a corporation] asks for your personal information doesn't mean that they have the RIGHT to get it. I *constantly* tell this to the Sheep but they, just as constantly, do exactly the opposite, giving every piece of personal data out for the promise of a free donut after buying 100 cups of overpriced coffee.

          And then these very same Sheep complain about possible "government spying" on them.


          You simply can't fix stupid. And we have a pandemic of that on our hands right now.

          1. jmch Silver badge

            Re: And why should we tell Meta anything?

            "Just because [a corporation] asks for your personal information doesn't mean that they have the RIGHT to get it..."

            A bit of common sense goes a long way. Is the information requested essential to them providing the service I want? (eg delivery address if I order something) - fill that in. Credit card payment? - Make sure to uncheck the 'save this card' box*

            Are there any fields in a form that aren't mandatory? Don't fill them in. Are there any fields that they have set to mandatory but they don't *need* to provide the service? Fill in some bogus data. Do they absolutely need an email address for cases where it might be that they send you anything useful (but probably will be mostly spam) - Set up a spam-catcher email address, and give them that.

            *Used to be this was an opt-in, most sites have switched this to opt-out, definitely something that should be slapped down.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Depending on where people live"

    aka : can they sue us

  4. tiggity Silver badge

    don't use meta products

    But any attempt to opt out would be a catch 22 of me giving them some PII so they could exclude any data related to me..

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: don't use meta products

      Which is why it should be opt in -- a default of not using PI unless someone has agreed to it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: don't use meta products

        Which is why all users are sheep.

      2. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: don't use meta products

        Which is why it will never be opt in. They can't trust people to agree to be stalked.

  5. imanidiot Silver badge

    Facebook shouldn't be collecting storing or using any personal data related to me in the first place. And it's main business model of scraping as much PII as it can without care should imho be illegal.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


      I don't know whether to laugh or cry about your statement about storing PI.

      So Facebook doesn't need to know your name, your age, your email address or the answers to your account verification questions? They also don't need to know what geographic region you live in, even though they need that to comply with various pieces of data protection legislation?

      And what about any PI you might deliberately or inadvertently put into your posts? Should they not store this info, in which case what is the point of Facebook, because if they don't store it, other people looking at your posts won't see it?

      I agree with your statement about using the PI for anything other than the reason it was collected for, and regulatory compliance, but that should be covered by legislation to implement GDPR in Europe.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: @imanidiot

        I don't have a Facebook account. You can be damn sure Facebook does have data about me in their system somewhere.

        1. trindflo Bronze badge

          Re: @imanidiot

          My thoughts too. Does the part of the information they claim to have from facebook "products and services" include the infamous shadow profiles if you have never opened an official facebook account? And all you need to do to suppress it is provide all the information facebook doesn't already have? Does paying a service to demand data aggregators stop supplying information on you work to avoid inclusion?

        2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: @imanidiot

          I know that I did not specify, but I was talking about Facebook users.

          You always have the option to not use it at all.

      2. Helcat Bronze badge

        Re: @imanidiot

        That FB collects information on people who are not signed up and agreed to such data collection is a breach of GDPR (April 2018 is when Zuck himself admitted to collecting info on people who didn't have an account, and laughably suggested people can get hold of what info FB holds on them... by going to their FB page and download it).

        Wonder how big the next fine will be (largest I've seen so far was $1.3 BILLION).

        1. Woodnag

          Re: @imanidiot

          For privacy, avoid being in a group photo including people that love to tag photos....

          1. captain veg Silver badge

            Re: @imanidiot

            Whenever anyone points a camera at me I always explain that I don't want them posting any images of me on Freakbook.

            Often they treat me like some kind of lunatic asylum escapee.

            It doesn't actually matter. My own parents have put pictures of me (and my siblings) on Fuckbuk already. OK, I was a child, but the point of facial recognition, a field in which Filchfuck is a leader, is that it doesn't rely on how you look at any particular moment in time.

            I'm Face'd.


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and not to be outdone

    Elon the Almighty wants to suck up your employment and educational history on his disaster site that was once known as Twitter.

    All part of his grand/cunning plan to make Twatter the only place to go for everything under the sun. Quite how he is going to make it happen at the rate that it is bleeding money is only known to him. As the new messiah (according to the cult of Musk) he can walk on water and turn water into wine so who knows eh?

    All I can say is... 'Fsck' the lot of you. and I hope that Zuck whips your ass.

    1. Helcat Bronze badge

      Re: and not to be outdone

      Don't you mean 'X'? As in 'has-been'?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can people please stop using WhatsApp

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "telling" them rather than "asking" them is how it should be.

  9. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge


    This is not something individuals should ask Meta, but regulatory agencies should DEMAND from them.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A zucker born every day.

  11. martinusher Silver badge

    Still haven't figured out this AI thing?

    What those AI / LLM models are doing when we 'train' them is they're really learning, they're doing exactly the same as well all do when we study something. All learning involves absorbing knowledge and then practicing using that knowledge to see how much has been retained and whether you can use it. Humans have names for this process such as "going to school". Machines are starting to follow the same process; they're a whole lot faster at reading than we are but the process is exactly the same -- they read a whole lot of stuff and then they're turned loose to experiment with what they've learned -- which is the trail phase of programs such as Chat-GPT3 where we all get to play with them to help validate and refine their models.

    I don't think of the machine has having any more claim on something as I would if I randomly read or heard something. Sure, its not supposed to copy / plagiarize but then there are already severe sanctions against this in academic and commercial settings. Whether or not these models are a good idea is a completely different issues, especially as once trained they can be relatively easily replicated. They're just not very smart although excellent at fooling many into believing they are (but how many humans do we know who have that very talent?).

    I guess we just don't like competition.

    1. trindflo Bronze badge

      Re: Still haven't figured out this AI thing?

      I suspect a lot of people have figured this AI thing out. It gathers up a huge pool of text, images, and personal information that is available online in the process of learning. Then if it runs into a question that we seem to have some relevant knowledge about, the AI attempts to answer in our voice.

      I think many of us don't like having the company gossip intercept our phone calls and impersonate our voice, even if they actually get it right.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Still haven't figured out this AI thing?

        >I think many of us don't like having the company gossip intercept our phone calls......

        This kind of BS has been going on for decades and only now you're complaining? It often feels to me that the issue isn't the dystopian future that is beckoning us but sour grapes that who ever is doing the complaining isn't getting the piece of the action that they think they deserve.

        (FWIW -- I've never supported, advocated or voted for any of this BS, primarily because I knew exactly where it was going. Its still headed there but I'm now too old and unimportant to be bothered much by it so I'm not going to get worked up about it. Just remember, its a process, its been going on for years and everyone seems to have been with the program until it starts affecting them Pastor Niemoller style. (Its not unlike the situation I read about the UK economy these days --- it was a logical end point of actions and decisions taken over the last 40 years or so but everyone seemed to be behind it and just ignored the warnings and cheered on the 'moderates' while they dumped on the protestors. The bed has been made -- enjoy....)

    2. frankrider

      Re: Still haven't figured out this AI thing?

      They can barf up text they’ve been fed. They can also transform text in interesting ways. Finally, they can summarize information but who knows if they’re telling the truth? That’s about it.

  12. Kev99 Silver badge

    I requested and here's Zuck's response -

    Thank you for contacting us.

    We don’t automatically fulfill requests and we review them consistent with your local laws.

    If you want to learn more about generative AI, and our privacy work in this new space, please review the information we have in Privacy Center."

    In other words, unless you're in California, you're screwed.

  13. Ace2 Silver badge

    Why should I have to opt out?

    He’s the one who zucks!

  14. Rich 2 Silver badge


    I think some well placed firewall rules to block faecesbook and its ilk would be a far more reliable method to keep them out

  15. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    You'd Have to Block EVERY Website Which FB has its Javascript Running On

    ... to hamper them from gathering data about you, and even THAT would not be enough, as FB knows how to scrape websites.

  16. BPontius

    Dream on!

    Yeah right! Facebook/Meta has repeatedly shown it has no ethical concerns with mining people's information. Getting caught will just have Zuckerberg testifying he wasn't aware this was happening. Then more empty promises of better security and stricter rules for data, then back to business as usual.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I wrote to Facebook as suggested, and asked them not to use my data to train generative AI. This is the response that they sent, after several weeks:

    Based on the information provided, we were unable to process your request. To help us process your request, please provide examples or screenshots that show evidence of your personal information (for example, your name, address or phone number) in responses from Meta’s generative AI models. Once you provide this evidence, we would be happy to investigate further.

    It sounds very much as though they will use the data however they want, and only if you catch them publishing your personal data online will they make any attempt at doing anything about it. As other commenters have pointed out, I'm not sure how this can comply with the GDPR concept of opt-out by default. It also doesn't match the story headline, which suggests that opt-out is possible, when in fact it seems not to be.

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