Elon Musk, the CEO of social media giant Twitter, has threatened legal action against Microsoft, accusing the company of using the platform’s data in an illegal way for their own training purposes.
On April 19, Musk tweeted:
“They [Microsoft] trained illegally using Twitter data. Lawsuit time.”
He didn’t provide any further details about the allegations he was making.
The Musk tweet came not long after Microsoft said it would be removing Twitter off one of the advertising platforms that it runs. The company’s official website stated that the Smart Campaigns with Multi-platform wouldn’t support Twitter anymore after April 25.
At that time, all advertising clients on the platform won’t be able to “access your Twitter account through our social management tool, create and manage drafts or Tweets, view past Tweets and engagement, schedule Tweets,” according to the post on Microsoft’s site.
Microsoft didn’t provide any more details about why it was dropping Twitter from that advertising platform. However, it did say that other popular social media platforms include LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook would still be available to their clients.
While neither company would comment publicly on the reason for the issue, multiple media outlets have reported that fees for Twitter’s API, or Application Programming Interfaces, might be the reason for this decision.
For years, Twitter has provided its API to developers for free. However, it announced in March that it would be only making the free version of its API available to developers so they can write up to 1,500 tweets every month. It also wouldn’t allow developers to access tweets but just create them.
Twitter’s replacement to that plan would be a new API that it would roll out that would grant developers greater access to multiple functions. Mashable reported that it would come with a fee, though, and the top tiers of it might cost as much as $210,000 each month.
The API that Twitter produces gives developers, third-party entities and other users programmatic access to features and data on the social media platform, which allows them to do things such as search for hashtags, send tweets automatically, receive engagement data from Twitter, and even regulate responses and retweets.
As Twitter states:
“At a high level, APIs are the way computer programs ‘talk’ to each other so that they can request and deliver information.”
It allows people who use the APIs to respond to their customer feedback that’s posted to Twitter, as well as analyze conservations that happen on the platform and send multiple updates out.
More than 17,500 academic papers have also been based on data from Twitter since just back in 2020, according to a recent report published in Wired.
Some people have been critical of Musk’s plan for the Twitter API. Brian Krassenstein, a journalist, asked Musk through a tweet he sent this week:
“I understand charging for the API, but I think that one thing that had been great about Twitter in the past is its ability to function across the internet. In many cases, this move is killing traffic to Twitter itself from outside sources. For instance, embedding tweets elsewhere which normally would drive new users to Twitter, is cut off in some cases.”