Microsoft drops support for Twitter in ad tools — Elon Musk threatens to sue

Elon Musk has threatened to sue Microsoft, claiming the company used Twitter data illegally to train its AI tool.

The threat comes as Microsoft said its social media planning and scheduling tools for advertisers would no longer support Twitter, after the Elon Musk-owned social network started charging for access to its application programming interface (API).

Twitter has historically been open to providing data to researchers free of charge, according to Wired. But in February, it was announced that the billionaire, who bought Twitter last year, is changing the company’s policy to charge businesses for access to its stream of data.

Twitter now offers a basic plan for “hobbyists or prototypes” for $100 per month and allows customers access to the data of 3,000 tweets for an individual user and 50,000 Tweets at the app level.

However, Wired reports that API data packages for enterprises are significantly more expensive. A package giving enterprises access to 50 million tweets is available for $42,000 a month.

Packages for 100 million and 200 million tweets cost $125,000 and $210,000 per month, respectively. Wired confirmed these figures, with the publication reporting that it reached out to existing API users who received emails with the pricing.

Microsoft said the decision to introduce pricing for this data prompted the decision to pull Twitter from its social media planning and scheduling tools.

Microsoft’s Smart Campaigns service helps advertisers manage social media campaigns on services including Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. As of April 25, users of the product won’t be able to do things like create tweets and drafts, or see past tweets and engagement, the company said Wednesday.

‘Lawsuit time’

Musk responded to the announcement by accusing Microsoft of using Twitter data “illegally” and threatening a lawsuit.

Large Language models like ChatGPT require vast quantities of data to train on, which is often sourced from websites such as Twitter, CNBC reports. Social network training data capture informal conversations that are had back-and-forth, which could be valuable for language models.

Microsoft is currently the biggest investor in OpenAI, the AI research lab Musk co-founded before falling out with the team and leaving in 2018.

Musk is now establishing his own rival AI effort.

Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting with Bloomberg

Now read: Elon Musk plans to create ChatGPT rival

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Microsoft drops support for Twitter in ad tools — Elon Musk threatens to sue