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Meta Delays AI Chatbot Launch in Europe After Regulator Pushback

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc. will delay its launch of the Meta AI chatbot in Europe after regulators on the continent requested the company pause its plan to train its large language models with posts from users there.

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On Monday, Meta announced its intention to start training its LLM, called Llama, using public posts generated by European users. On Friday, it updated that statement to say those plans have been delayed indefinitely after the Irish Data Protection Commission pushed back on the decision.

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“This is a step backwards for European innovation, competition in AI development and further delays bringing the benefits of AI to people in Europe,” Meta wrote in a blog post. “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.”

A Meta spokesperson confirmed the company still plans to bring these products to Europe, but declined to share a timeline for when that will happen. At the end of 2023, Facebook had 308 million daily active users in Europe, according to the company’s financial statements.

Meta has been pouring significant resources into artificial intelligence technology in an effort to keep pace with other tech giants, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Microsoft Corp. and OpenAI. The company debuted its latest LLM, Llama 3, in April, and already offers its Meta AI assistant to users of its apps in the US. Large language models are the technology that underpins types of generative artificial intelligence, including chatbots.

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