Innovation or Infringement? Twitter Threatens To Sue Meta Over Threads
Written by Sanjay Kumar
- Threads, Meta’s Twitter challenger, faces legal trouble as rival threatens lawsuit over intellectual property rights.
- Elon Musk’s lawyer accuses Meta CEO of unlawfully using Twitter’s trade secrets.
- Meta denies hiring former Twitter employees, defend against allegations.
- CEO: Linda Yaccarino (5 Jun 2023–)
- Subsidiaries: Twitter Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd., Twitter France SAS, MORE
- Founders: Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, Noah Glass
- Founded: 21 March 2006, San Francisco, California, United States
- Headquarters: San Francisco, California, United States
Threads, the app launched by Meta in an attempt to surpass the struggling Twitter, encountered legal complications shortly after its launch. Despite amassing over 30 million users since its Thursday (July 6) release, the rival company threatened to file a lawsuit, alleging that Threads infringes on Twitter’s “intellectual property rights.”
Alex Spiro, the lawyer representing Elon Musk, composed a letter addressed to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, accusing him of engaging in the “unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.” The news outlet Semafor initially made the letter public.
Within the letter, Meta was accused of hiring numerous former Twitter employees who possess and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and highly confidential information.
“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.
In response to a tweet that mentioned the news, Musk stated, “Competition is acceptable, but cheating is not.”
Meta defended itself by asserting that none of the members in the Threads engineering team were previously employed by Twitter.
“It is simply not true that any member of the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee. That is an unfounded claim,” stated Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Meta, in a Threads post.
Threads represent the most significant contender to Twitter, which is owned by Musk, and although several potential competitors have emerged, none have managed to supplant one of the world’s largest social media platforms, despite its struggles.
On Threads, users can share text, links, and interact with other users’ messages by responding to or reposting them, mirroring Twitter’s features.
Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, has a lengthy and successful track record of replicating products from emerging internet competitors. Their Reels feature imitated TikTok’s popular video application, and their Stories feature emulated Snapchat’s rise in popularity.