Twitter has threatened to file a lawsuit against Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, over Threads, the rumoured “Twitter-killer” initiative. Twitter alleges that Meta infringed intellectual property rights by hiring former Twitter engineers to develop its new microblogging network, according to an official warning letter that Semafor was able to obtain. These claims are refuted by Meta, who also asserts that none of the engineers working on Threads have ever worked for Twitter. Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, also charges Meta with fraud.
Twitter writes in the letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg that it “has serious concerns” that the creator of Facebook and Instagram “engaged in systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation.” The letter also says:
“Meta has employed dozens of former Twitter employees in the last year. Twitter is aware that these workers have worked at Twitter in the past, that they have access to its trade secrets and other highly sensitive information, that they owe ongoing obligations to Twitter, and that many of them have improperly retained electronic devices and documents from the company. Knowing this, Meta purposefully gave these workers the task of creating Meta’s imitation “Threads” app in a matter of months, with the intention of having them use Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property to hasten the creation of Mcta’s rival app, in violation of both state and federal law as well as those employees’ ongoing obligations to Twitter.
Twitter requests that Meta keep any records that might be important in the event of a dispute between Twitter, Meta, or current or past employees of Twitter. Elon Musk responded to Threads, Meta’s Twitter clone, when the letter became widely known. In a tweet, he stated, “Competition is fine, but cheating is not.” The Meta response, which refutes the accusations, is also referenced in the Semafor report. No one on the Threads engineering team is a former employee of Twitter, according to meta lawyer Andy Stone.
Following Twitter’s haphazard move to prevent users from viewing posts without an account, Meta started earlier this week. Additionally, Twitter set a daily cap on how many tweets users may view. Regular non-paying Twitter users and Twitter Blue subscribers have significantly different limits. The Threads app launched as the largest Twitter alternative, capitalizing on the timing. According to Zuckerberg, the network reached 30 million sign-ups within 24 hours of its inception. Twitter had 229 million monthly active users as of May 2022.
Though several capabilities on the platform are lacking, the Threads app directly borrows features from Twitter. Users of Threads, for instance, are unable to start a public chatroom akin to Twitter Spaces or submit lengthy films. Additionally, there is no way to send DMs on Threads.