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What artists and their beneficiaries need to know about Meta's new privacy policy

As Meta unveils its new privacy policy, DACS’ Head of Legal, Simon Marshall, explains the changes and what artists can do to object to their works being used to develop Meta’s AI models.

Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, has recently updated its privacy policies to include provisions for using user data to develop its AI models. This change may have significant implications for users, particularly visual artists and creators who share their works on these platforms. Here's a breakdown of what this means and how you can navigate these new terms.

The updated privacy policy for Meta was changed recently and will come into effect on 26 June 2024. By agreeing to Meta's terms and conditions on any of its products (such as setting up an account or having an existing account on Instagram or Facebook), users automatically agree to Meta using their information to develop its AI models. This includes any photos, posts, and captions shared on Instagram and Facebook.

Can I opt-out?

Sort of, but it’s not very straightforward.

In cases where Meta has obtained your personal information from third parties, you have the right to request access to that information and object to it being used to develop Meta’s AI models. However, Meta requires users to fill out forms, provide evidence, and even enter a one-time code received via email.

For information you have shared on Meta products like Instagram or Facebook, you again have the right to object to the information being used to develop Meta’s AI models. There is another form for making this request, but there is no guarantee that Meta will honour your request. You must provide reasons why Meta’s processing impacts you, which Meta must consider before making its decision.

How does this impact visual artists and creators?

For many visual artists and creators Instagram is a key social media channel to help people engage with their works. The reason this new policy change is particularly concerning is that any images and creative works shared on Meta's platforms (Instagram or Facebook) can be used by Meta to develop AI models unless you can successfully object to the use. Given the apparent effort involved in doing this, many users may find the content they post to Instagram and Facebook used by Meta to develop AI models without their explicit consent.

How to object?

If you decide to object to your personal information being used by Meta to develop its AI models, follow these steps:

1. Open the Instagram App: Go to your profile and tap on the hamburger menu in the top-right corner.

2. Navigate to Settings & Privacy if necessary, depending on your Instagram version.

3. Scroll down to the bottom and tap on “Help”, then select “Help Center”.

Screenshots of steps to submit a request on Meta

4. Submit a Request: Choose a suitable option and fill out the form provided by Meta.

Screenshots of steps to submit a request on Meta

5. Provide Proof: Enclose necessary proof with screenshots and relevant prompts as required by Meta.

6. Enter One-Time Code: To complete the request, enter the one-time code sent to your email address.

7. Await Confirmation: Once processed, you will receive an email notifying you whether your request has been honoured.

If you are already logged into your account, you can use the following links to submit your requests:

Object to use of your information and content provided by you

Object to use of your information provided by third parties

Additionally, tools such as Glaze and Nightshade developed by researchers at the University of Chicago are aimed at helping artists protect their work from being misused by AI models that you may decide to explore to help safeguard your works and data posted on social media platforms.

Meta's updated privacy policy represents a significant shift in how user data will be handled. DACS will be following this closely and will provide updates when we can. While the company provides a means to object to this processing, the process is not user-friendly.

For visual artists and creators, this policy change is a reminder of the need to stay informed and vigilant about changes to terms and conditions of tools like Instagram, so the benefits of use can be considered against potential risks.

Staying informed and proactive is crucial in this evolving digital landscape. If you are concerned about your data, including your works, being used for AI training, take the necessary steps to opt-out or object where possible, and carefully consider the material you’re using on these platforms.