Elon Musk’s company, X Corp., which now owns Twitter, has threatened to sue Meta over intellectual property violations. You’d probably guess even if it weren’t in the title: it’s about Meta’s new social network, Threads, which looks and acts pretty much the same as Twitter. This allegation comes in a letter written by Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
[Related reading: Warning: Deleting Threads profile kills your Instagram account, too]
“Based on recent reports regarding your recently launched ‘Threads’ app, Twitter has serious concerns that Meta Platforms has engaged in systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property,” Spiro writes in the letter.
Spiro further claims that Meta hired “dozens of former Twitter employees” to build Threads. The problem is that they know the trade secrets, and Spiro claims that they “owe ongoing obligations to Twitter” and that many of them “have improperly retained Twitter documents and electronic devices.”
“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.”
Spiro claims that Twitter intends to “strictly enforce its intellectual property rights” and demands Meta to immediately “stop using any Twitter trade secrets or other highly confidential information.”
Confirming Spiro’s letter, in a way, Musk tweeted after it was released: @Competition is fine, cheating is not.”
Meta: “That’s just not a thing”
Speaking with Semafor, Meta’s communications director, Andy Stone, denied Twitter’s accusations with a simple reply. “No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing,” he said.
“Zuck” himself doesn’t seem shaken much; he keeps on counting Threads users, which have now reached 30 million, and counting. “Feels like the beginning of something special, but we’ve got a lot of work ahead to build out the app,” Zuckerberg tweeted. Or should I say, threaded?
Can Threads kill Twitter?
As I already mentioned, Twitter users have been extremely unhappy with the app lately. I stopped actively using it years ago, and since Musk took over, it just kept getting worse. Meta recognized the opportunity, and there’s no better time to launch their own app with the same functionality. But I do wonder how they’ll handle legal issues. I am sure they thought it through before Threads was launched, and I’m really curious to see how this will unfold. Maybe that Gladiator fight at Colosseum will really happen? Either way, I’ll grab my popcorn and keep following this reality show.
[via Ars Technica]