Twitter says Threads stole its IP, sends legal threat to Facebook parent Meta
Twitter told Meta to cease and desist, adding that it could take legal action if necessary.
Meta — the parent company of Facebook and Instagram — previously launched its Threads app. The product has been widely described as Twitter competitor or “Twitter killer,” something that Twitter itself has taken note of.
Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Twitter, sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg following the platform’s launch. That letter calls Threads a “copycat” app and says:
“Based on recent reports regarding your recently launched ‘Threads’ app, Twitter has serious concerns that Meta … has engaged in systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.”
Spiro also contended that Meta deliberately hired numerous former Twitter employees. Those employees, Spiro asserted, utilized trade secrets and inside information to advance the development of Threads. Those actions would violate both state and federal law, as well as the employees’ ongoing obligations to Twitter, Spiro said.
Spiro’s letter added that Twitter is determined to “strictly enforce its intellectual property rights” and demanded that Meta cease using any Twitter-derived trade secrets or confidential information. Spiro warned that Twitter reserves the right to legal action, including both civil remedies and injunctive relief, to prevent further use of its IP.
Other involved individuals have also commented on the matter. Elon Musk, CTO and executive chair of Twitter, implicitly supported the legal threat in a July 6 tweet. He wrote: “competition is fine, cheating is not.”
Meta’s communications director, Andy Stone, denied the claims. He explicitly stated to Semafor that no former Twitter employees are on the Threads team.
Twitter is experiencing broader troubles
Twitter placed a rate limit on viewable content days before Meta’s Threads went live and said this limit was implemented to limit bot activity.
The firm did not explicitly say it imposed the limit in anticipation of Threads’ launch. However, Spiro’s letter also ordered Meta to refrain from scraping or crawling Twitter data, suggesting that the two concerns are at least adjacent to one another.
Twitter has experienced numerous other controversies since Elon Musk acquired the company in October 2022. Certain issues — specifically less restrictive content policy policies that some argue permit hate speech — have previously prompted users to move to decentralized social media alternatives such as Mastodon.
Some crypto hopefuls believe that backlash against Twitter could benefit Web3 and blockchain-based social networks, such as Peepeth, Lens Protocol, and Damus.