Musk’s Lawyer Calls Out Microsoft: A Feud Over Twitter Data Use?

Musk’s Lawyer Calls Out Microsoft: A Feud Over Twitter Data Use?

Table of Content

In this article, we’ll delve into the unexpected controversy between Twitter, now under Elon Musk’s ownership, and tech giant Microsoft. 

The focus lies on Microsoft’s alleged violation of Twitter’s developer agreement, its handling of Twitter data, and the possibility of a looming legal battle.

Key Takeaways:

  • Elon Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, accuses Microsoft of potentially violating Twitter’s developer agreement.
  • Claims center on the use of Twitter API for unauthorized uses and purposes, as well as failure to inform Twitter about the use case for six out of eight Microsoft Apps.
  • Microsoft pulled support for Twitter APIs in some of its products, likely due to new, costlier API tiers on Twitter.
  • Spiro’s letter requests a compliance audit for each of the eight apps through April 2023.
  • Microsoft, maintaining an air of partnership, pledges to review the questions and respond appropriately.
  • Musk had previously threatened to sue Microsoft over alleged illegal use of Twitter data for AI training.

The Allegations against Microsoft:

Elon Musk’s legal counsel, Alex Spiro, has penned a letter with the intent of bringing a potential violation of Twitter’s developer agreement by Microsoft to light. 

This communication was directed at Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella.

At the heart of the issue are accusations surrounding Microsoft’s use of Twitter’s APIs. Twitter has made claims that Microsoft has been operating eight individual applications that utilize Twitter’s APIs. 

These applications have been reportedly linked to other Microsoft services and products, including Xbox, Bing, and their advertising platform.

However, Twitter has pointed out that in the past month, Microsoft began to retract its support for these APIs. 

This action included the termination of the sharing feature on Xbox, which allowed clips to be posted directly to Twitter. 

This decision could potentially have been prompted by Twitter’s introduction of new API tiers, which are generally priced higher.

Spiro’s letter delves further into the specifics, alleging that Microsoft used the APIs for unapproved uses and purposes. 

On top of this, Twitter was allegedly kept in the dark regarding the usage case for six of the eight Microsoft apps that continued operation until the previous month.

The agreement between the two parties required full cooperation from Microsoft, a condition that Twitter asserts was not met. 

As a result, Twitter has requested a comprehensive compliance audit for each of the eight apps, extending back to April 2023.

Microsoft’s Response

In response to the allegations, Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw released a statement, which assured that Microsoft would conduct an appropriate review of the raised questions. 

The software company also expressed its eagerness to continue its long-standing partnership with Twitter.

The tech giant further clarified that it does not currently pay Twitter for any form of data. 

As for Twitter, their press email responded with a poop emoji when asked for comment, continuing a trend that has been ongoing since March.

While the letter from Spiro did not explicitly mention any impending legal actions, it’s noteworthy that Musk had previously threatened to sue Microsoft, claiming that it had “trained illegally using Twitter data.”

The Larger Picture – AI Training

The controversy extends beyond these allegations, reaching into the realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

Musk has previously spoken out about the use of Twitter data for training AI models. This was in reference to data used to train sophisticated language models like Microsoft’s Bing and OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

It is well-known that training AI models requires substantial amounts of data. 

Language models, for example, need vast amounts of written text to learn and identify patterns, thereby making sense of language. 

The bigger picture here lies in the ethical use of such data.

Looking Ahead

As we stand on the precipice of what could become a legal brawl, it’s important to consider potential future implications. 

The outcome could set a precedent that determines how tech companies handle data and privacy in the AI era.

This conflict also threatens to sour the relationship between Microsoft and Twitter, potentially impacting their long-standing partnership. 

Furthermore, the prospect of a lawsuit remains very real, which could take this conflict to the courtroom.

As it stands, the industry watches with bated breath as we await Microsoft’s detailed response. 

No matter the outcome, this episode underscores the importance of clear guidelines and ethical practices when it comes to handling user data, especially as we continue to tread deeper into the age of AI.


Written by

Alexander Sterling

Alexander Sterling

Alexander Sterling is a renowned financial writer with over 10 years in the finance sector. With a strong economics background, he simplifies complex financial topics for a wide audience. Alexander contributes to top financial platforms and is working on his first book to promote financial independence.

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Judith Harvey is a seasoned finance editor with over two decades of experience in the financial journalism industry. Her analytical skills and keen insight into market trends quickly made her a sought-after expert in financial reporting.