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Slack under fire for using user data for AI training by default: Report




Slack, the popular workplace chat platform owned by Salesforce, is facing significant backlash from its users over the use of their data to train AI services. The controversy erupted after a post on Hacker News highlighted Slack’s practice of using user data for AI training by default, requiring users to email the company to opt out. This revelation has sparked widespread debate and frustration among Slack users.

The initial post on Hacker News linked directly to Slack’s privacy principles, drawing attention to the fact that users are automatically enrolled in data sharing for AI training unless they take explicit action to opt out. The post quickly went viral, leading to a cascade of discussions across various online platforms, particularly among developers and privacy advocates.

Users expressed their dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency and the cumbersome opt-out process. Criticism centered on the outdated and confusing privacy policy, which many users were unaware of until the Hacker News post brought it to light. The policy’s complexity and the need to email Slack to opt out of data sharing have been seen as significant shortcomings for a company that promotes user control over their data.

Adding to the confusion is the introduction of Slack’s new AI features under the product name “Slack AI,” which includes tools for searching answers and summarizing conversation threads. Despite the rollout of these features, Slack’s privacy principles page does not mention “Slack AI” explicitly, leaving users uncertain about how their data is being used and whether the privacy policy applies to these new tools. Furthermore, Slack’s use of terms like “global models” and “AI models” without clear definitions has added to the uncertainty.

Clint House, CEO of WellSync, commented on the issue, highlighting the importance of transparency in data usage policies. “By leveraging our extensive network of vetted clinician and pharmacy partners, we ensure a reliable supply of GLP-1 medications, even amid potential shortages. This collaboration not only maximizes patient and provider choice but also reinforces our shared mission to offer accessible, personalized care,” he said in a statement. While this comment was regarding another issue, it underscores the growing demand for clarity and user control in data management practices.

The uproar over Slack’s data usage practices is not entirely new; according to records from the Internet Archive, the controversial terms have been in place since at least September 2023. However, the recent viral post has brought renewed scrutiny and pressure on Slack to address user concerns.

Slack has yet to respond to the latest round of criticism.

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