In a surprising turn of events, a legal battle has erupted between Twitter, now owned by Elon Musk, and Meta, the company founded by Mark Zuckerberg. Twitter has threatened to sue Meta over its newly launched rival app, Threads, claiming that it has violated Twitter’s intellectual property rights.
Alex Spiro, a lawyer representing Twitter, sent a letter to Zuckerberg, expressing serious concerns about Meta’s alleged misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other confidential information. The letter stated that Twitter intends to enforce its intellectual property rights and demanded that Meta immediately cease using any Twitter trade secrets.
Meta launched Threads, a text-based conversation app aimed at competing with Twitter, to a largely positive reception. The app quickly gained popularity, garnering 30 million sign-ups within 24 hours of its release. One factor contributing to its rapid growth was that Threads accounts were linked to Instagram profiles, allowing for seamless sign-up between the two apps and providing Threads with an existing user base.
Zuckerberg praised the launch of Threads, seeing it as Meta’s opportunity to build a “public conversations app with 1bn+ people” that Twitter hadn’t been able to achieve. He expressed satisfaction with the app’s early success, stating, “This is as good of a start as we could have hoped for!”
Twitter’s cease-and-desist letter alleges that Meta has hired several former Twitter employees in the past year, some of whom had access to Twitter’s trade secrets and confidential information. Twitter claims that these employees were deliberately assigned to develop Threads, using Twitter’s trade secrets to accelerate Meta’s competing app, which would be a violation of state and federal laws as well as the employees’ ongoing obligations to Twitter.
Elon Musk weighed in on the situation, tweeting, “Competition is fine, cheating is not.” Meta’s communications director, Andy Stone, responded to the letter on Threads, claiming that there are no engineers on the Threads team who previously worked at Twitter.
The evidence supporting Twitter’s allegations regarding the continued access to Twitter’s intellectual property by former employees at Meta remains unclear. Twitter responded to requests for comment with an automated email containing a poop emoji, leaving the situation even more uncertain and contentious. The legal battle between the two tech giants is now set to unfold, with the outcome having potential implications for the future of social media and intellectual property rights.