Twitter has threatened to sue Meta over its new Threads app, which Mark Zuckerberg has openly positioned as a rival. Twitter claims that Meta has violated its “intellectual property rights,” with a lawyer for Twitter expressing serious concerns in a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The letter, initially published by the news outlet Semafor, asserts that Meta has engaged in the 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.
Meta launched Threads, a text-based conversation app intended to rival Twitter, on Wednesday to a largely positive reception. The company said Threads garnered 30m sign-ups in less than 24 hours after launching, apparently making it the most rapidly downloaded app ever. 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.