Twitter owned by Elon Musk has threatened to sue Meta over its new rival app, Threads which Mark Zuckerberg launched claiming the company has breached Twitter’s “intellectual property rights”.
In a letter to Meta owner, Zuckerberg, a lawyer, Alex Spiro for Twitter said the company “has serious concerns that Meta Platforms (Meta) has engaged in systematic, willful and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property”.
“Twitter intends to strictly enforce its intellectual property rights, and demands that Meta take immediate steps to stop using any Twitter trade secrets or other highly confidential information,” Spiro said.
According to the Guardian UK, Meta launched Threads, a text-based conversation app intended to rival Twitter, on Wednesday to a largely positive reception. The firm disclosed Threads gathered 30 million sign-ups in less than 24 hours after launching.
The number apparently made it the most rapidly downloaded app ever as Threads accounts are linked to Instagram profiles, making the process to sign up seamless between apps and giving the Twitter copycat a built-in user base.
Zuckerberg said Threads was Meta’s attempt at taking a shot to build a “public conversations app with 1bn+ people” – an opportunity that Twitter had but “hasn’t nailed”.
“This is as good of a start as we could have hoped for!” Zuckerberg said in a thread on Thursday.
Twitter claims in the cease-and-desist that Meta has poached dozens of former employees in the past year, some of whom “had and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information” and “many” of whom have “improperly” kept Twitter documents or electronic devices.
“With that knowledge, Meta deliberately assigned these employees to develop, in a matter of months, Meta’s copycat ‘Threads’ app with the specific intent that they use Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property in order to accelerate the development of Meta’s competing app, in violation of both state and federal law as well as those employees’ ongoing obligations to Twitter,” the letter reads.
“Competition is fine, cheating is not,” Musk tweeted on Thursday.
In response to the letter, Meta’s communications director, Andy Stone, posted on Threads that there are no engineers on the team that used to work at Twitter.
It’s unclear what evidence Twitter has that former employees who now work at Meta continue to have access to Twitter intellectual property or trade secrets. Twitter responded to a request for comment with an automated email of a poop emoji.