Elon Musk’s Twitter threatens to sue Meta over Threads app
The battle between Elon Musk’s Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta over the launch of Threads — Instagram’s Twitter rival has taken a legal turn.
News website Semafor on Thursday reported, citing a letter sent to the Facebook parent’s CEO by Twitter’s lawyer Alex Spiro.
Threads, which is a text-based platform that is similar to Twitter, has already passed 30 million sign-ups since its debut on Thursday morning.
“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 wrote in the letter, which Semafor shared online.
“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.”
The Elon Musk-owned company is accusing Meta of poaching former Twitter employees to create the new platform.
“Over the past year, Meta has hired dozens of Twitter employees,” the letter says, alleging that “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 laws as well as those employees’ ongoing obligations to Twitter.”
“No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing,” Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said in a Threads post.
In a tweet responding to news of Twitter’s legal threat to Meta, Musk said, “Competition is fine, cheating is not.”
Twitter’s cease-and-desist letter also says, “Meta is expressly prohibited from crawling or scraping of Twitter’s followers or follower data… Scraping any Twitter services is expressly prohibited for any reason without Twitter’s prior consent.” However, the letter does not allege that Meta engaged in such activity.
Threads is one of many Twitter competitors that have gained traction since Elon Musk took over the reigns at Twitter last year.
However, this latest development indicates that Threads is the most notable rival, given Twitter’s quick action against the platform.
At launch, Threads is available on iOS and Android in 100 countries, though not in the EU, reportedly due to concerns about adhering to local data privacy regulations.
Users must first authenticate using their Instagram login credentials to access Threads. The app will then populate their account details, like name, username, photo, and followers.