Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk has threatened to take legal action against Microsoft, alleging that the technology giant has illegally trained its artificial intelligence (AI) systems using Twitter data. Musk voiced his concerns on Twitter on April 19, in response to a post announcing that Microsoft would end its support for Twitter across its online social advertising tools, Smart Campaigns and Multi-platform, on April 25.

Musk accused Microsoft of unauthorized use of Twitter data for training its AI-powered applications, suggesting that the company extracted information from user tweets. Although Microsoft has not provided a reason for ending its support for Twitter, it is worth noting that Twitter’s API fees have surged from $0 to $42,000 per month, with some cases priced over $200,000 per month, as reported by Wired in March.

The Twitter CEO further alleged that Microsoft is “demonetizing” Twitter data by removing advertisements and selling the data to third parties. As a result of Microsoft’s decision, its customers will lose access to their Twitter accounts through Microsoft tools, as well as the ability to create, manage, view, and schedule tweets. Microsoft’s customers will still have access to Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, as stated on its website.

Microsoft has scrapped Twitter advertisements from its Multi-platform. Source: Microsoft

Microsoft’s move follows Twitter’s decision to cease providing free access to its API for versions 1.1 and 2 a few months ago. The significant price increase has heavily impacted academics, who have published over 17,500 papers based on Twitter data since 2020 and now face prohibitive costs.

When contacted for comment, Microsoft declined to address Musk’s allegations or its decision to discontinue Twitter ad support. The company is reportedly developing its own AI chips to power ChatGPT as it grapples with the rising development costs for both in-house and OpenAI projects. Microsoft, currently valued at $2.15 trillion, ranks as the second-largest company globally by market cap, following Apple, according to Google Finance.