Taylor Swift and her team are apparently very protective of her name. In the upcoming book Tools and Weapons written by Microsoft president Brad Smith, it is revealed that Microsoft was once threatened with a lawsuit by Swift’s legal team.
Swift’s team was apparently unhappy with Microsoft’s decision to name their failed chatbot “Tay” which was an acronym for “thinking about you.”
The chatbot was released by Microsoft through Twitter on March 23, 2016, though it was before the official launch that Swift’s team allegedly threatened the lawsuit.
“I was on vacation when I made the mistake of looking at my phone during dinner,” Smith reveals, via The Guardian. “An email had just arrived from a Beverly Hills lawyer who introduced himself by telling me: ‘We represent Taylor Swift on whose behalf this is directed to you.’
“He went on to state that ‘the name Tay, as I’m sure you must know, is closely associated with our client.’ No, I actually didn’t know, but the email nonetheless grabbed my attention. The lawyer went on to argue that the use of the name Tay created a false and misleading association between the popular singer and our chatbot, and that it violated federal and state laws.”
Eventually, once Tay was released, it was short-lived due to a public relations disaster.
The chatbot quickly failed after just 16 hours of service. Microsoft claimed that trolls attacked the service and introduced inflammatory comments. Users were able to target the service with its “repeat after me feature.” Along with some racist and drug-related messages, Tay was also responsible for tweets like “Bush did 9/11 and Hitler would have done a better job than the monkey we have now,” and “WE’RE GOING TO BUILD A WALL, AND MEXICO IS GOING TO PAY FOR IT” before it was ultimately shut down.