from the not-how-any-of-this-works dept
Elon Musk seems to take a personal affront to anyone who says “dude, we’re not going to pay your crazy prices for stuff.” For example, he pulled the NY Times “verified” badge weeks before everyone else was set to lose it after they announced they wouldn’t pay.
Now, Microsoft has announced that it is dropping Twitter from its Smart Campaigns advertising platform, in part because of the $42,000 per month API fee (the “small” package) that Musk is trying to charge. This comes right after Intercom, one of the giant customer support companies, which many organizations use to manage their customer support work on Twitter, announced that it was also dropping Twitter support from its platform over Musk’s API fees.
The Microsoft move is a big deal, because it means even fewer advertisers will likely be putting ads on Twitter. But, Microsoft realizes that it’s just not worth it to pay the ridiculous fee for very little benefit, so it has told customers that Twitter will be gone as of next week.
Musk, in his typical fashion, responded by throwing a little tantrum, and suggesting he’s going to sue Microsoft… for “illegal” use of Twitter data.
“They trained illegally using Twitter data. Lawsuit time” the man says.
This is another tell from Musk. I mean, he made the same bullshit claim about Substack after he had the company (temporarily) block users from interacting with any tweet that had a Substack link in it, claiming (falsely) that Substack was “trying to download a massive portion of the Twitter database to bootstrap their Twitter clone.”
So, yeah, this lawsuit is not happening, or if it does, I don’t expect it to go well for Musk and Twitter. Contrary to Musk’s belief, he doesn’t have any sort of intellectual property rights over data on Twitter. Claims that Microsoft did something “illegal” in using Twitter’s data seems massively unlikely. I’m guessing he’s making some sort of swipe at OpenAI, which Microsoft backed and which Elon is at war with (despite helping to found it).
Musk has complained a few times in the past that some of OpenAI’s training data was from Twitter, but… that’s legal. “Training” on data means reading the data, and as long as the data is public, then it’s open to be read, and used in such a manner.
Still, there’s a larger point here: beyond the stupidity of his current API pricing, why would any business feel comfortable trusting important business to Twitter when the company’s owner and CEO acts like a petulant child in response to a company not wishing to pay his extortionate fees?
This is why Twitter is failing. Elon Musk himself is a liability. He’s the one driving advertisers and partners away.
I keep seeing others in Silicon Valley trying to tiptoe around this, and try to piece together some grand plan here, just like Republicans did with Trump during his administration. You have to get over it. There is no grand strategy. There is a petulant, immature, rich kid, who has spent too long surrounded by suck ups and yes men, who has no one who will tell him that he is the problem.
Twitter wasn’t a great business, and was primed for a big shakeup. And maybe it needed new management. But there were ways to shake up Twitter that didn’t literally drive away much of its revenue due entirely to the CEO’s own antics. Even when he has good ideas (encrypting DMs, promoting the premium subscription features) he seems to still fuck it up. There were wide open ways to improve Twitter.
And instead he’s throwing temper tantrums when faced with the consequences of his own actions.