Adobe to Update Terms of Service Amid Backlash: ‘We Recognize That Trust Must Be Earned’


Adobe is updating its Terms of Use following backlash over privacy and ownership concerns regarding users’ work. The company, known for creative software like Photoshop and Premier, announced in a blog post that it would implement the updated language by June 18, 2024. EVPs Scott Belsky and Dana Rao emphasized Adobe’s commitment to customer trust and responsible innovation, stating that the company has never trained its generative AI on customer content or claimed ownership of unpublished work. They clarified that Adobe’s Firefly AI models are trained on contributions to its stock library and public domain data, distinct from users’ personal and professional content.

The controversy arose when users were notified of the updated terms without clear explanations, leading to misconceptions that Adobe could access unpublished work for AI training and assume ownership of works in progress. However, Adobe clarified that the updated policy was intended to screen for illegal or violating activities, not to access or control user content. Belsky and Rao reassured users that they have the choice to not participate in content-sharing programs for model training and that Adobe does not scan locally stored user content.

The lack of clarity and transparency during a time when AI tools are seen as threatening to creatives led to swift backlash, including threats to abandon the platform. Despite clarifications, the incident highlights the importance of clear communication in maintaining user trust. Belsky and Rao acknowledged this, stating, “We recognize that trust must be earned.”

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