Twitter threatens to sue Meta over the new Threads app

Elon Musk's personal lawyer accused Meta of using Twitter's trade secrets and former employees to build the app.


Twitter isn't exactly happy about Meta's Threads app, a new text-based Instagram sibling. As Semafor reports, Twitter has threatened legal action against Meta, accusing it of poaching former employees and unlawfully misappropriating trade secrets and intellectual property.

“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, Elon Musk's personal lawyer, wrote in a letter to Meta. “Twitter reserves all rights, including, but not limited to, the right to seek both civil remedies and injunctive relief without further notice to prevent any further retention, disclosure, or use of its intellectual property by Meta.”

Spiro, who is acting on behalf of Twitter parent X Corp, claims that Meta has hired dozens of ex-Twitter employees over the last year. He claimed the company "deliberately assigned" them to work on Threads "with the specific intent that they use Twitter's trade secrets and other intellectual property in order to accelerate development of Meta's competing app." He argued this violates state and federal laws as well as those employees' obligations to their former employer. In addition, Spiro said Meta is prohibited from scraping Twitter data relating to who people follow.

Meta has refuted Spiro's claims. “No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing," Meta communications director Andy Stone wrote on (where else?) Threads.

For the time being, Threads users need to sign up for the app with their Instagram profile. It's an easy process that helped Meta quickly sign up tens of millions of users. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that 30 million people had joined Threads by Thursday morning, just over 12 hours after the app went live.