Microsoft nopes out after Twitter starts charging $$$ for API access
Plus: Musk threatens lawsuit, claims Redmond trained models 'illegally using Twitter data'
Opinion "Is Elon on crack? I'm not paying $42K PER MONTH for Twitter API access." These were the words of a Reddit user last night when it emerged that this was indeed the starting price for any more than zero pull requests on the "cheap" tier. Microsoft wasn't keen on paying up either, though when it swiftly erased Twitter access from its Ads platform CEO Elon Musk immediately threatened to sue it for training "illegally using Twitter data."
Microsoft pulled out yesterday after balking at the new fees (the enterprise form is here – hattip to peeinian), although it will still offer users of its Advertising platform the ability to spend their campaign cash across Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn channels. Mails have also begun to go out informing Redmond's clients of the change.
Over on Twitter, sober reflection was taking place, and a committee of execs met to discuss the issue, while Elon consulted with a lawyer over what he'd say publicly on the... nah, not really (or if it did happen, we'd be very surprised). Instead, the official Twitter 2.0 news account (yes, it has one... *cough* Pravda *cough*) tweeted on the Microsoft move to cut off Twitter last night, and the world's second richest man was there like a shot with what looked like a threat to sue Microsoft, tweeting: "They trained illegally using Twitter data. Lawsuit time."
One would presume he meant OpenAI's ChatGPT or another Microsoft-backed or linked AI model fed public data, although he didn't specify. Any such model trained on public internet data might have ingested information via Twitter's API, which has historically been free.
We've asked Twitter what exactly Musk meant by this (yes, despite poomojis, it's the right thing to do). We'll update if we hear back. Microsoft said it has "nothing to share."
Anyway, back to the drama. The news of Microsoft leaving immediately became BREAKING NEWS to the TwitterDaily handle, which presumably doesn't get a poomoji when it asks Musk for comment. We asked Twitter about this, because giving story subjects the opportunity to respond and fact checking means something to us, but, well: "💩."
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It has been quite the week already for Musk, whose follow-up to an ill-advised interview with Tucker Carlson went live on Tuesday, including some gross opinions about procreation and objectionable ones about abortion, and who on the same day was pleading with advertisers in person to come back to Twitter. But don't tell him what to do, OK? It's a business, except when it's not.
There are various theories out there as to why Musk would want to charge a single org that kind of money for making even low volume pull requests – a situation that could see Twitter cutting off traffic to its own platform. He could be attempting to create artificial scarcity and create pent-up demand, some theorized.
There's also the possibility Musk will U-turn so hard the wheels smoke – it wouldn't be the first time. Twitter could lower its API access price tomorrow if it wanted. Microsoft isn't one of the indie devs scoffing at the price – it's a huge corporation and its advertising client reach is quite significant so losing it has got to sting.
Say what you like about Musk, he's doing the most to show he was right about the social media company's value. ®