Mark Zuckerberg’s favorite word is “public.” In Meta’s recent Q4 earnings call, he said, “On Facebook and Instagram, there are hundreds of billions of publicly shared images and tens of billions of public videos, which we estimate is greater than the Common Crawl dataset and people share large numbers of public text posts in comments across our services as well.”
Here’s what that means. Instead of using the Common Crawl dataset to train Meta’s AI like ChatGPT, it’s using your and my public data. And because it’s public (there’s that word again), they don’t have to get our permission or pay us for it. Nice.
They know most of us are creeped out by that. The solution? An opt-out form.
Request granted (maybe)
The Generative AI Data Subject Rights form is hanging out in Meta’s help center. Filling it out is only a request for Meta to remove your name, home address, phone number or email address.
- To submit the opt-out request, provide your country of residence, full name and email address.
- You should receive confirmation that your request is under review within 24 hours. Pro tip: The website is pretty glitchy on phones, so try it on a computer instead.
Here comes the shady part. Because it’s just a “request,” there’s no guarantee Meta will delete your data or get you the info you ask for, even if it belongs to you. Uh … what’s the point?
European regulators slapped Meta with a $1.3 billion fine for misusing data. Coincidence there is this form? Nah.
Facebook privacy must-dos for 2024
If completing Meta’s new opt-out form doesn’t exactly put you at ease (it shouldn’t), you can safeguard data in other ways.
Remove access to third-party apps: I recommend checking this a couple of times a year.
- Open Facebook on your computer and click your profile pic in the upper-right corner. Tap Settings & privacy > Settings. Select Apps and Websites from the left column and remove any apps or sites you don’t trust or use.
Opt out of interest-based ads: Wipe out everything Meta knows (or thinks it knows) about you.
- Open Facebook on your computer and click your profile pic in the upper-right corner. Tap Settings & privacy > Settings > Accounts Center > Ad preferences.
- From here, you can view the advertisers you’ve most recently seen ads from, and you can choose to see fewer ads about selected topics. You can also review your Ad settings and choose whether Facebook can show you personalized ads based on your Activity information from ad partners.
Clear activity from businesses you visit off Facebook: You read that correctly. With the right permissions, FB can track you IRL.
- Open Facebook on your computer and click your profile pic in the upper-right corner. Tap Settings & privacy > Settings > Accounts Center > Your information and permissions > Your activity off Meta technologies.
- Next, tap Manage future activity and select Disconnect future activity.
- Finally, select Continue and tap Disconnect future activity again.
💰 For Big Tech companies, you’re one of the top-selling products. No wonder they go to such great lengths to get your info — and they don’t like me very much for telling you how to say no.