Twitter accuses Microsoft of misusing its data

Elon Musk accuses Microsoft of not having respected its agreement with Twitter concerning the use of data from the social network, a reproach which is part of the race for artificial intelligence, which is very greedy in digital data.

“Microsoft appears to have used Twitter’s API (application programming interface, editor’s note) for unauthorized purposes,” said Alex Spiro, Elon Musk’s lawyer, in a letter sent Thursday to Satya Nadella, the boss of the American computer giant, and consulted by AFP.

Twitter says Microsoft used more data than it was allowed to, and shared some with government agencies without permission.

The platform, bought in October by the boss of Tesla, also notes that Microsoft has “refused to pay even a reduced rate to continue to have access to Twitter APIs and its content”.

APIs allow third-party companies, such as Microsoft, to develop tools for their own products (adware, cloud applications, etc.).

“Despite the limitations, Microsoft programs accessed Twitter APIs more than 780 million times and retrieved more than 26 billion tweets in 2022 alone,” says the letter, before calling for a detailed audit.

Microsoft confirmed in the evening that it had been approached by the platform’s lawyers about its “previous use of free Twitter APIs”.

The Microsoft stand at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, ​​March 2, 2023 (AFP/Archives – Josep LAGO)

“We will review these questions and respond appropriately,” a company spokesperson said in a statement, adding that we look forward to “continuing our long-term partnership with the company.”

Twitter, in a precarious financial situation, announced in March that developers would have to pay more to access its services and data. And last month, Elon Musk accused Microsoft of “illegally training” its artificial intelligence (AI) technologies from Twitter data. “Trial time has come,” he tweeted.

The success of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s generative AI interface capable of producing all kinds of text on simple request in everyday language, has launched a real race for this technology between the American tech giants.

Microsoft seems to have taken the lead, thanks in particular to its major investments in OpenAI. The Redmond-based group is competing with Google for ads on integrating numerous generative AI tools into their respective search engines, office suites and clouds.

But these interfaces depend on large language models, AI systems trained on mountains of data to be able to form coherent sentences or create compelling images.

Elon Musk, who co-founded OpenAI in 2015 before leaving, recently founded his own AI company, called X.AI.

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