sourcegraph
May 27, 2024

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

In the letter, which was reviewed by The New York Times, Twitter said Microsoft violated an agreement regarding its data and refused to pay for such use. In some cases, Microsoft used more Twitter data than expected, the letter said. Microsoft also shared Twitter data with government agencies without permission, the letter said.

“Microsoft may have violated multiple provisions of the agreement over an extended period of time,” Alex Spiro, a personal attorney for Elon Musk, who owns Twitter, wrote to Nadella road.

The letter could be a prelude to Twitter trying to charge Microsoft for its data. Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion last year, has said the company is desperate for money and on the brink of bankruptcy. Twitter has since launched new subscription products and made other moves to generate more revenue. In March, the company said it would charge developers more to access its stream of tweets.

Last month, Mr Musk publicly accused Microsoft of “illegally” using data from Twitter to train its artificial intelligence technology. “Litigation time,” he tweets then.

Microsoft said it is not currently paying Twitter for data. Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw said the company had received Twitter’s letter and would review the issues and respond. “We look forward to continuing our long-term partnership with the company,” he said.

Musk did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr Musk’s relationship with Microsoft has not been smooth of late. Among other things, Mr. Musk has been at loggerheads with Microsoft over OpenAI, the startup behind the ChatGPT chatbot. Musk, who helped found OpenAI in 2015, has said that Microsoft, which has invested $13 billion in OpenAI, controls the start-up’s business decisions.Microsoft has dispute That kind of characterization.

Last month, Microsoft also said it would not pay for data access to Twitter and told customers of its advertising platform that it would remove Twitter from the platform. Advertisers use Microsoft’s advertising platform to manage their social media accounts, including Twitter.

In recent months, Twitter and other groups have also complained about the latest wave of artificial intelligence technology being built using their digital data. Reddit said last month that it would start charging for access to its application programming interface, or API, so its data would not be free to use.

Microsoft’s Bing chatbot and OpenAI’s ChatGPT are built on so-called large language models, or LLMs, which develop their skills by analyzing vast amounts of data collected from the internet.

In December, Mr. Musk cut OpenAI from Twitter’s data. OpenAI pays $2 million a year for access to the data, but Mr. Musk doesn’t think that’s enough to fairly compensate Twitter.

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

Twitter also said Microsoft has until June to submit a report on how much Twitter data the company has, how it is stored and used, and when government-related organizations gained access to the data. Twitter’s rules prohibit government agencies from using its data unless the company is notified in advance.

The letter added that Twitter data was used for Xbox, Microsoft’s gaming system; Bing, its search engine; and a number of other tools for advertising and cloud computing.

Twitter has imposed limits on the amount of data it can use, saying access cannot exceed a “reasonable” amount. But Microsoft “used Twitter’s data portal more than 780 million times in 2022 alone, retrieving more than 26 billion tweets,” the letter said.





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