Twitter Claims Meta Stole Trade Secrets for Threads App


With Meta’s Twitter competitor, Threads, taking over the globe by storm due to its seamless integration into Instagram, things are heating up between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, again.

X Corp., the successor to Twitter, Inc., has raised serious concerns about Meta Platforms’ recently launched “Threads” app. That’s according to a letter obtained by Semafor, written by lawyer Alex Spiro to Zuckerberg, dated July 5, 2023.

In the letter, X Corp. accuses Meta of systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.

The letter, penned by Spiro from the law firm Quinn Emanuel, alleges that Meta has hired dozens of former Twitter employees over the past year. These employees, according to the letter, had access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information and continue to have such access.

The letter further alleges that many of these employees have improperly retained Twitter documents and electronic devices.

Spiro writes, “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.”

Twitter has demanded that Meta immediately cease using any Twitter trade secrets or other highly confidential information. The letter also reserves Twitter’s right to seek both civil remedies and injunctive relief to prevent any further retention, disclosure, or use of its intellectual property by Meta.

The letter also prohibits Meta from crawling or scraping Twitter’s followers or following data, citing Twitter’s Terms of Service. It also serves as a formal notice for Meta to preserve any documents that could be relevant to a dispute between Twitter, Meta, and/or former Twitter employees who now work for Meta.

Musk responded to a story about the legal threat, saying “Competition is fine, cheating is not.”

Musk also added later, “A closed source, algorithm-only system means that manipulation of what information people see is essentially undetectable,” replying to former Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who was discussing about how there’s no ‘following’ tab on Threads (meaning you can’t just see posts from people you follow, but only what Instagram wants you to see).

Threads has surged to over 30 million sign ups in less than 24 hours, leveraging existing Instagram credentials. Facebook is using its tried, tested and true model of mimicking other apps and features, and muscling in with its existing userbase. As of writing, it’s impossible to delete your Threads account–unless you delete your Instagram.

Grab your popcorn, folks. The fight between tech heavyweights Musk and Zuckerberg is far from over. You can follow us on Threads here.

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