Twitter threatens to sue Meta over Threads

"Competition is fine, cheating is not," said Twitter owner Elon Musk

Twitter has threatened to sue Meta over its new social media platform Threads.

Launched on Wednesday (July 5), the app was pitched as a “friendly” rival to Twitter which is now owned by tech billionaire Elon Musk.

Experts say that the Threads can attract the attention of people who are unhappy with the direction Twitter has gone in since Musk acquired the site in a huge $44billion deal last October.


Yesterday (July 6), Meta co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said that 10million users had subscribed to the new service within its first seven hours. At the time of writing, a reported 50million people have signed up including many celebrities and public figures.

Threads – which is linked to Instagram – functions in a similar way to Twitter, allowing subscribers to share a maximum of 500 characters per post as well as photos, links and up to five minutes of video.

Now, as The Guardian reports, Twitter has now accused Meta of violating Twitter’s “intellectual property rights”.

Writing in a letter to Zuckerberg (via Semafor), a lawyer for Twitter said it “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,” Alex Spiro wrote in the letter.

“Twitter reserves all rights, including, but not limited to, the right to seek both civil remedies and injunctive relief without further notice to prevent any further retention, disclosure, or use of its intellectual property by Meta.”


Additionally, the cease-and-desist claims that Meta has poached dozens of former employees in the past year in a bid to make a “copycat” application. It adds that these workers “had and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information”.

The letter reads: “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.”

Yesterday, Musk tweeted: “Competition is fine, cheating is not.”

In response to the claims, Meta’s communications director Andy Stone said: “No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee – that’s just not a thing.”

It is currently not known what evidence Twitter has in regards to former employees who now work at Meta continuing to have access to Twitter intellectual property or trade secrets.

Zuckerberg explained that Threads was Meta’s attempt at creating a “public conversations app with 1bn+ people”. He said Twitter had this opportunity, but claimed that the site “hasn’t nailed” it as of yet.

“This is as good of a start as we could have hoped for!” Zuckerberg said in a post on Threads yesterday.

The new platform joins Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Messenger and more in the growing Meta family.

Twitter owner Musk tweeted yesterday: “It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram.”

You can now also follow NME on Threads here.

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