Elon Musk is reportedly unhappy with Meta’s Twitter copycat Threads, and the battle between him and Mark Zuckerberg, rumoured to escalate into a cage fight, has now taken a legal turn.
Threads, which launched on Wednesday, is a text-based social app that leverages Instagram’s platform and user base. It functions similarly to Twitter, though it’s not as polished yet, despite all of the latter platform’s bugs and glitches. Regardless, according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Threads has attracted more than 30 million sign-ups since its launch on Wednesday, July 5th.
Now, Musk-owned Twitter has sent a cease-and-desist letter addressed to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, stating that the company has “engaged in systematic, willful and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.”
Competition is fine, cheating is not
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 6, 2023
In the letter, Twitter’s lawyer demanded that Meta stop using any Twitter trade secrets or confidential information and threatened to take legal action if Meta did not comply.
“Over the past year, Meta has hired dozens of Twitter employees…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.”
The letter also says that Meta is prohibited from scraping any data from Twitter’s services without its consent. Considering that Musk fired a majority of Twitter employees upon acquiring the platform, it’s only natural that they would go work for other tech giants, including Meta.
However, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone denied the allegations and said that none of the engineers working on Threads had previously worked at Twitter. “No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing,” he said.