Meta Will Use Shutterstock’s Image Library to Train its AI

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Meta and Shutterstock will expand their business partnership, allowing the social media company to train its artificial intelligence and machine learning systems on Shutterstock’s collection of millions of images.

The two companies have announced what they categorize as a “significant partnership,” with the goal of bringing Meta’s artificial intelligence (AI) innovation to the forefront using the power of Shutterstock’s massive content library.

Shutterstock says that its “growing alliance” with Meta is part of its greater strategic vision to be “at the center of technology, design, content, and innovation.” Shutterstock adds that it is one of the first companies to pay artists for their contributions to training machine learning models, and says it has “proven to be a trusted partner” to those entering the space by ensuring the responsible creation and licensing of content with a transparent IP transfer.

“AI has the potential to drive an explosion of creativity,” Paul Hennessy, Chief Executive Officer at Shutterstock, says.

“Shutterstock is expanding our long-standing relationship with Meta, which follows our partnerships with OpenAI and LG AI Research announced last year, to reinforce our mission to invest in technology that brings creative ideas to life faster. We want to automate the busywork required to complete creative projects and help creators understand how their work is resonating. Our content will remain at the heart of these advancements both on and off our platform, and we will continue to shape the future of generative AI in a way that is ethical and artist-centric.”

Shutterstock says the partnership will achieve three major goals:

  • Bring new creative offerings to market
  • Build on Shutterstock’s already scaled ecosystem that compensates and connects contributors to creators
  • See Meta use Shutterstock’s collection of millions of images, videos and music to develop, train and evaluate its machine learning capabilities

“With its industry-leading library of high-quality content, its focus on bringing new creative offerings to market, and its expertise in creating a scaled ecosystem that compensates and connects contributors to creators, Shutterstock is the ideal partner for industry leaders investing in creating new experiences powered by AI,” the company says.

“By tapping into Shutterstock’s collection of millions of images, videos and music, Meta plans to use these datasets to develop, train and evaluate its machine learning capabilities.”

Over the last couple of years, Shutterstock has been snapping up competitors to bolster its content library. It purchased 3D rendering stock agency TurboSquid, online photo editing and design platform PicMonkey, the largest video-centric stock agency Pond5, and celebrity news agency Splash News all over the last two years. The company also integrated the DALL-E generative AI system into its platform last October.

Meta, on the other hand, has been sinking billions of dollars into its Reality Labs division over that same period of time, with little to show for it. Reality Labs, its AI and virtual reality-centric division, has been at the front of Meta’s financial collapse, which led to 11,000 employees losing their jobs last November. The company’s value plunged more than $65 billion near the end of last year.