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Elon Musk claims Microsoft illegally trained its AI using Twitter data, threatens lawsuit

Published Apr 19th, 2023 5:07PM EDT
Twitter owner Elon Musk
Image: Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images

Elon Musk has chosen his next major technology company to go to war with: Microsoft.

Earlier today, Microsoft announced that it will be dropping support for Twitter as part of its advertising platform. According to a support article on the company’s website, “starting on April 25, 2023, Smart Campaigns with Multi-platform will no longer support Twitter.”

The company says that starting on April 25th, users will no longer be able to access the following features:

  • Access your Twitter account through our social management tool
  • Create and manage drafts or Tweets
  • View past Tweets and engagement
  • Schedule Tweets

Microsoft is likely making this change due to Twitter starting to charge companies for API usage. This is even more obvious since the company said that “other social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn will continue to be available.”

Elon Musk does not seem to be taking the news well. In response to the announcement, Musk suddenly accused Microsoft of training its AI products on Twitter data illegally. The Twitter CEO went even further, threatening the company with legal action.

It’s currently unclear exactly what AI products Musk is accusing Microsoft of using Twitter data to train illegally, but Musk isn’t the only company starting to push back against companies using data to train artificial intelligence products. As reported by Business Insider, Reddit is also now demanding that companies looking to use its data must pay for access.

It’s unclear if Microsoft’s actions are illegal, and if Musk’s sudden move to claim it as such is valid, but the idea that AI companies should compensate others for using their data for training is not an unreasonable request. Arguments can be made that, without doing so, it skirts with copyright infringement.

While other companies are starting to demand payment going forward, Musk is the first to claim that Microsoft did something illegal by using Twitter’s data in the first place. That argument can certainly be used by any company that has seen its data harvested by companies building generative AI products like Microsoft, OpenAI, Google, and more.

We’ll have to see if Twitter and Microsoft actually end up in court over Musk’s claim, but there are likely more lawsuits (or at least the threat of them) between AI firms and the companies that are providing the data without compensation on the way.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.