Elon Musk’s lawyer accuses Microsoft of abusing its access to Twitter data

by The Insights

Elon Musk’s personal attorney, Alex Spiro, sent a letter on Twitter’s behalf to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella accusing Microsoft of breaching Twitter’s developer agreement, as reported The New York Times. In Thursday’s letter (available in full below), Spiro claims that Microsoft may have violated “multiple provisions” of Twitter’s Developer Agreement “for an extended period.”

Until recently, Microsoft had integrated Twitter’s APIs into some of its products – the Twitter letter claims that Microsoft operated “eight separate Twitter API applications” integrated into products such as Xbox, Bing and its advertising platform . But it started supporting those APIs in April, including dropping sharing clips to Twitter from Xbox, likely due to Twitter’s generally more expensive new API tiers.

According to the letter, examples of Microsoft’s violation of Twitter’s Developer Agreement include using the API for “unauthorized uses and purposes” and Microsoft not notifying Twitter of “any use cases for six of the eight Microsoft apps it continued to operate until last month.” Claiming their approval requires full cooperation from Microsoft, Spiro’s letter calls for a “compliance audit” for each of the eight apps until April 2023, when Microsoft shut them down. This demands a broad range of information from Microsoft about each of the apps and how it used Twitter data, all provided by June 7.

Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw shared the following statement with The edge. “Today we were asked questions by a law firm representing Twitter about our past use of the free Twitter API. We will review these questions and respond appropriately. We look forward to continuing our long-term partnership with the company. The company also indicated to the NYT that it does not currently pay Twitter for data.

Twitter’s press email responded to a request for comment with a poo emoji, as it has done since March.

Spiro’s letter does not mention any pending legal action. However, in April, Musk already threatened to sue Microsoft for “illegally training using Twitter data”, apparently referring to data used to train large language models used in chatbots like Bing from Microsoft and ChatGPT from OpenAI. Other companies have taken less drastic approaches to try to take advantage of the formation of these patterns; Reddit, for example, recently announced API changes to allow it to better monetize its data.

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