Skip to main content

Elon Musk threatens to sue Microsoft over AI training

Shortly after reports emerged on Wednesday that Microsoft is about to remove Twitter from its ad platform, Twitter CEO Elon Musk fired back with the threat of a lawsuit, claiming the computer giant illegally used Twitter’s data, such as users’ tweets, to train its artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

“They trained illegally using Twitter data,” Musk tweeted, adding: “Lawsuit time.”

They trained illegally using Twitter data. Lawsuit time.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 19, 2023

Microsoft’s move, confirmed on its website, means that users will be unable to access their Twitter account and manage tweets through Microsoft’s social media management service starting April 25, though as Mashable points out, firms using Microsoft Advertising will continue to have the ability to manage content for Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn via the platform.

Microsoft’s change of heart comes almost two months after reports claimed that Twitter would start charging between $42,000 and $210,000 per month for access to its API, which third-party developers might need to build their own related software.

While that’s small change for a company as big as Microsoft, its reported refusal to pay suggests the decision could be a principled one about handing over large fees for a service that until recently was free. Digital Trends has reached out to Microsoft for more information and we will update this article when we hear back.

ChatGPT, as well as other generative-AI tools like Google’s Bard, are trained using accessible data on the internet, and Musk appears unhappy over  Microsoft’s possible use of Twitter data for some of that training.

Musk is also known to be upset about how ChatGPT creator OpenAI has grown increasingly close to Microsoft, which has poured billions of dollars into the startup’s development. Musk helped to form OpenAI in 2015 (though he left soon after), and now appears to be unhappy about how Microsoft is using the technology to rejuvenate its own business.

In a tweet in February, Musk tweeted: “OpenAI was created as an open source, nonprofit company to serve as a counterweight to Google,” lamenting that it has become “a closed source, maximum-profit company effectively controlled by Microsoft. Not what I intended at all.”

Musk recently confirmed that he’s making plans to launch his own ChatGPT competitor, possibly called TruthGPT.

It’s too early to say if Twitter’s CEO will follow through on his threat to sue Microsoft, but his comment hints at the high stakes wrapped up in the new wave of AI tools that have the potential to transform many parts of society.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Medical health experts the latest to sound alarm over AI development
A digital brain on a computer interface.

An international group of doctors and medical health experts is the latest to call for artificial intelligence (AI) to be regulated, saying that it “poses a number of threats to human health and well-being,” and claiming that the “window of opportunity to avoid serious and potentially existential harms is closing.”

The analysis follows other recent warnings from prominent tech figures who include Geoffrey Hinton, the so-called “godfather of AI,” and a group of experts who were among 1,000 signatories of a letter that called for a suspension on AI development until a set of rules can be established to ensure its safe use.

Read more
Steve Wozniak warns AI will make scams even more convincing
steve wozniak tweets wife may be patient zero coronavirus usa speaking 3 2

Steve Wozniak has been sharing his thoughts about the new wave of AI-powered tools that have gained so much attention in recent months.

Speaking to the BBC this week, the Apple co-founder said he fears that the technology will be increasingly used by cybercriminals to make online scams more convincing and therefore harder to spot.

Read more
Protect public from AI risks, White House tells tech giants
A robot holding scales of justice.

At a meeting of prominent tech leaders at the White House on Thursday, vice president Kamala Harris reminded attendees that they have an “ethical, moral, and legal responsibility to ensure the safety and security” of the new wave of generative AI tools that have gained huge attention in recent months.

The meeting is part of a wider effort to engage with advocates, companies, researchers, civil rights organizations, not-for-profit organizations, communities, international partners, and others on important AI issues, the White House said.

Read more