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X's privacy policy confirms it will use public data to train AI models

Image Credits: TechCrunch

X's recently updated privacy policy informed its users it would now collect biometric data as well as users' job and education history, Bloomberg spotted earlier this week. But it appears that's not the only thing that X plans to do with user data. According to an update to another section of the policy, the company additionally plans to use the information it collects and other publicly available information to help train its machine learning and AI models, it says.

The change was noticed by Alex Ivanovs of Stackdiary, who has a history of finding notable updates in the terms of service of tech companies, having previously found AI-related updates in Brave and Zoom. His post is now trending on Y Combinator's discussion forum Hacker News.

Specifically, the X policy change is found in section 2.1 and reads as follows:

We may use the information we collect and publicly available information to help train our machine learning or artificial intelligence models for the purposes outlined in this policy.

As Ivanovs points out, X owner Elon Musk has ambitions to enter the AI market with another company, xAI. This leads him to theorize that Musk likely intends to use X as a source of data for xAI -- and perhaps Musk's recent tweet encouraging journalists to write on X was even an attempt to generate more interesting and useful data to feed into the AI models.

In fact, Musk has previously stated that xAI would use "public tweets" to train its AI models, so this is not much of a leap. He accused other tech giants of leveraging Twitter to train their AI models, even threatening Microsoft with a potential lawsuit for alleged illegal use of Twitter data. Musk also filed suit against unknown entities for scraping Twitter data, which also may have been for the purpose of training artificial intelligence large language models.

In addition, Ivanovs points to to the text on the xAI homepage which states that while it's a separate company from X Corp., it "will work closely with X (Twitter), Tesla, and other companies to make progress towards our mission."

Musk essentially confirmed the privacy policy change, responding to a post on X to clarify that the plan is to use "just public data, not DMs or anything private."

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

X no longer responds to press requests with a poop emoji as it had following Musk's takeover of the social network. Instead, we've received an auto-responder that says "We'll get back to you soon." If that, indeed, turns out to be true, we'll add X's comment.