Microsoft’s announcement that it will stop supporting Twitter on its smart advertising platform has caused Twitter CEO Elon Musk to take offence. Elon Musk threatened to sue Microsoft, accusing it of illegally using Twitter’s data to train its artificial intelligence program and demanding damages.
Microsoft quietly announced the decision but did not say why. However, reports suggest that Twitter wants to charge third-party apps a hefty fee to access Twitter’s application programming interface (API), a tool that allows third-party apps to interact with the social media service. Twitter is asking for fees ranging from $42,000 to $210,000 per month (currently about RMB 289,000 to RMB 1,445,000).
Microsoft seems unwilling to pay the fee, so it has decided to stop offering support for Twitter on its smart advertising platform after April 25. This means that Microsoft’s advertisers will not be able to access their Twitter accounts or create and post tweets through the Smart Ads platform.
Elon Musk tweeted, “They (Microsoft) are illegally using Twitter data for training. It’s time to sue them.” Elon Musk did not provide any evidence to support his allegations, although some AI programs, such as ChatGPT, do use publicly available Internet data, such as Wikipedia articles, for training.
Elon Musk’s comments come as another social media platform, Reddit, has also announced plans to charge API accessors on the grounds that data generated by Reddit users are used to train AI models.
There are other conflicts between Elon Musk and Microsoft. Microsoft has become a major partner of OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. Although Elon Musk was once one of the founders of OpenAI, he has since been critical of the San Francisco-based lab as a “closed-source, maximally profitable, effectively Microsoft-controlled company.
He also criticized ChatGPT for spreading misinformation, and Elon Musk said he plans to use his own artificial intelligence chatbot program, TruthGPT, to take on OpenAI and Microsoft.