Twitter Accuses Microsoft of Improperly Using Its Data

Twitter sent a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Thursday, accusing Microsoft of improperly using the social media company’s data.

In the letter, seen by The New York Times, Twitter said Microsoft violated its data contract and refused to pay for its use. In some cases, Microsoft used more Twitter data than expected, according to the letter. Microsoft also shared Twitter data with government agencies without permission, according to the letter.

“Microsoft may have violated multiple terms of the contract over an extended period of time,” Alex Spiro, a personal attorney for Elon Musk, who owns Twitter, said in a letter to Nadella. Stated.

The letter could be a precursor to Twitter’s attempt to charge Microsoft for data. Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion last year, says the company is in dire need of making money and is on the verge of bankruptcy. Since then, Twitter has made moves to generate more revenue, including the introduction of new subscription products. The company announced in March that it would charge developers an additional fee to access the stream of tweets.

Last month, Musk publicly accused Microsoft of using Twitter data “illegal” to train its artificial intelligence technology. “It’s litigation time,” he said. tweeted at the time.

Microsoft said it does not currently pay Twitter for its data. Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw said the company has received Twitter’s letter and will review the question and respond. “We look forward to continuing our long-term partnership with the company,” he said.

Mr. Musk did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Musk and Microsoft have had a rocky relationship lately. Musk, in particular, has had a feud with Microsoft over the startup OpenAI, which developed the ChatGPT chatbot. Musk, who helped found OpenAI in 2015, said Microsoft, which invested $13 billion in OpenAI, controls the startup’s business decisions.Microsoft is controversial its characterization.

Microsoft last month said it would not pay for access to Twitter data and told customers of its advertising platform that it would remove Twitter from the platform. An advertiser uses his Microsoft advertising platform to manage social media accounts such as Twitter.

In recent months, Twitter and other organizations have also begun to complain that the latest wave of AI technology was built using their own digital data. Reddit announced last month that it would begin charging for access to its application programming interface (API) and would no longer be able to use that data for free.

Microsoft’s Bing chatbot and OpenAI’s ChatGPT are built from so-called Large Language Models (LLMs), which build skills by analyzing vast amounts of data collected from across the internet.

In December, Musk blocked OpenAI from Twitter data. OpenAI was paying $2 million a year for access to the data, but Musk didn’t think that amount was enough to fairly compensate Twitter.

The letter to Nadella did not specify whether Twitter would take legal action against Microsoft or seek financial compensation. It is asking Microsoft to comply with Twitter’s developer agreement and investigate the data usage of the eight apps.

Twitter also requires Microsoft to provide a report by June on how much Twitter data the company has, how that data is stored and used, and when government-affiliated entities have accessed it. said there is. Twitter’s rules prohibit the use of data by government agencies without prior notice.

The letter adds that the Twitter data was used on Microsoft’s gaming system, the Xbox. Bing, its search engine. There are also some other tools for advertising and cloud computing.

Twitter limits the amount of data that can be used, stating that access should not exceed a “reasonable” amount. However, Microsoft has used Twitter’s data portal “more than 780 million times and retrieved more than 26 billion tweets in 2022 alone,” the letter said.

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