Want your data fed into AI models without your say-so? X gon’ give it to ya

X social media logo design
(Image credit: X)

X, formerly known as Twitter, has recently updated its privacy policy. This generally innocuous practice isn’t usually anything out of the ordinary for social media platforms. Not usually...

However, this time around it was to inform users (read: legally present the information to uniformed consent clickers) that all public information on the site is now free to be fed into the belly of the beast that is AI — including your tweets/posts, history of education and employment, and your biometric data. 

What does it mean?

While many are ringing alarm bells about X’s privacy policy update, it’s worth pointing out that the social media giant isn’t the only company seeking to train AI models on your data. Facebook, Threads, Google, Microsoft, and more are all making similar moves when it comes to how to use your information.

In the case of X, public information will likely be used to further improve the services’ machine learning algorithm or to train parent company X Corp’s own AI model, xAI — something owner Elon Musk alluded to earlier in the year. 

The good news

If you’re worried about AI now having access to sweep through your private information such as DMs, then worry not. Replying to a post announcing the privacy policy changes, Elon Musk was quick to assure users that only public data from X would be used for training. With personal and private information still safely under lock and key.

Which mostly means it's business as usual, with X's data harvesting being no more intrusive than that of a Google crawler. Much ado about nothing this time!

The bad news

Of course, the bad news is that X Corp’s AI experiment will be trained primarily through its social media platform's extensive library of public tweets/posts. Which, if you’ve been a long-time Twitter user you’ll know, means it’s likely to be the most powerful cat-fishing cam girl of all time with a penchant for sending you malicious phishing links in between asking you for help on transferring large sums of crypto as it calls you literally worse than Hitler. 

Outlook

It’s easy to paint X as some sort of evil villain here — the rebranding hasn’t exactly helped either. However, it seems like AI is here to stay and these sorts of privacy updates will soon become commonplace as more companies seek to use AI models to further their means.

While it would be nice for users to be able to opt out of such schemes before the changes go into effect on September 29th 2023, at present there seems to be no such plans in place. However, if you’re genuinely concerned about the use of your public information being included in training data for AI models, then my personal advice is to unplug your modem now and save yourself the headache.

X’s updated privacy policy may raise an eyebrow or two, but at least it all seems confined to the social media platform itself. Unlike, say, Google, who have recently laid claim to anything and everything open to public viewing online in order to train its own AI — Google Bard. Welcome to the future, enjoy your stay. 

For news, rumors, and updates on all things AI and software related, follow Laptop Mag on TwitterFacebook, and Flipboard for the latest word as it arrives.

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Rael Hornby
Content Editor

Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.