Slack is training its machine learning on your chat behavior — unless you opt out via email

The slack logo on a mobile phone in front of a purple wall with the slack logo on it
Slack - nu med lite mer (artificiell) intelligens. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Slack has been using customer data to power its machine learning functions, including search result relevance and ranking, leading to the company being criticized over confusing policy updates that led many to believe that their data was being used to train its AI models.

According to the company's policy, those wishing to opt out must do so through their organization’s Slack admin, who must email the company to put a stop to data use.

Slack has confirmed in correspondence to TechRadar Pro that the information it uses to power its ML – not its AI – is de-identified and does not access message content.

Slack criticized for using customer data to train AI models

An extract from the company’s privacy principles page reads:

“To develop non-generative AI/ML models for features such as emoji and channel recommendations, our systems analyze Customer Data (e.g. messages, content, and files) submitted to Slack as well as Other Information (including usage information) as defined in our Privacy Policy and in your customer agreement.”

Another passage reads: “To opt out, please have your org, workspace owners or primary owner contact our Customer Experience team at…”

The company does not provide a timeframe for processing such requests.

In response to uproar among the community, the company posted a separate blog post to address concerns arising, adding: “We do not build or train these models in such a way that they could learn, memorize, or be able to reproduce any customer data of any kind.”

Slack confirmed that user data is not shared with third-party LLM providers for training purposes.

The company added in its correspondence to TechRadar Pro that its "intelligent features (not Slack AI) analyze metadata like user behavior data surrounding messages, content and files but they don't access message content."

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!