Meta joins Apple in withholding AI models from EU users

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Meta has announced it will not be launching its upcoming multimodal AI model in the European Union due to regulatory concerns.

This decision from Meta comes on the heels of Apple’s similar move to exclude the EU from its Apple Intelligence rollout, signalling a growing trend of tech giants hesitating to introduce advanced AI technologies in the region.

Meta’s latest multimodal AI model – capable of handling video, audio, images, and text – was set to be released under an open license. However, Meta’s decision will prevent European companies from utilising this technology, potentially putting them at a disadvantage in the global AI race.

“We will release a multimodal Llama model over the coming months, but not in the EU due to the unpredictable nature of the European regulatory environment,” a Meta spokesperson stated.

A text-only version of Meta’s Llama 3 model is still expected to launch in the EU.

Meta’s announcement comes just days after the EU finalised compliance deadlines for its new AI Act. Tech companies operating in the EU will have until August 2026 to comply with rules surrounding copyright, transparency, and specific AI applications like predictive policing.

The withholding of these advanced AI models from the EU market creates a challenging situation for companies outside the region. Those hoping to provide products and services utilising these models will be unable to offer them in one of the world’s largest economic markets.

Meta plans to integrate its multimodal AI models into products like the Meta Ray-Ban smart glasses. The company’s EU exclusion will extend to future multimodal AI model releases as well.

As more tech giants potentially follow suit, the EU may face challenges in maintaining its position as a leader in technological innovation while balancing concerns about AI’s societal impacts.

(Photo by engin akyurt)

See also: AI could unleash £119 billion in UK productivity

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