Twitter has issued a legal threat to Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, regarding its newly launched Threads platform. In a letter addressed to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s lawyer Alex Spiro accused Meta of hiring former Twitter employees who still had access to Twitter’s confidential information and trade secrets. The letter demands that Meta cease using any proprietary information belonging to Twitter. While a Reuters source confirmed the contents of the letter, Spiro did not comment on the matter when approached by Reuters.
In response, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone stated that no former Twitter employees were part of the Threads engineering team. A former senior Twitter employee also denied knowledge of any ex-colleagues working on Threads or joining Meta. Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter’s competitor, commented on the situation by saying, “Competition is fine, cheating is not,” in reference to the news.
Meta, which owns Instagram and Facebook, launched Threads with the aim of competing against Elon Musk’s Twitter by leveraging the vast user base of Instagram. However, Threads lacks features such as keyword searches and direct messaging that are available on Twitter. Legal experts specializing in intellectual property law, including Stanford law professor Mark Lemley, have suggested that Twitter would require more substantial evidence than what is presented in the letter to support a trade secret theft claim against Meta. They argue that the mere hiring of former Twitter employees and the creation of a similar platform by Facebook are unlikely to be sufficient grounds for such a claim.
Twitter’s battle against Meta comes amidst a series of controversial decisions made by Twitter, which have led to dissatisfaction among users and advertisers. One of these decisions involved Musk’s recent action to limit the number of tweets users can read per day.