Twitter Threatens Legal Action Against Meta Over Alleged Trade Secret Theft for ‘Twitter Killer’ App
The legal battle between tech billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk has taken a new turn as Twitter threatens to sue Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram. Twitter accuses Meta of poaching its employees and stealing trade secrets to develop its own app, dubbed the “Twitter killer.”
Meta recently unveiled Threads, a text-based social media app that bears a striking resemblance to Twitter in terms of its appearance and functionality. In response, Alex Spiro, a lawyer representing Twitter, fired back with allegations of “systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.”
In a letter addressed to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Spiro claimed that Meta had hired numerous former Twitter employees who had access to confidential information and trade secrets belonging to Twitter. Spiro demanded that Meta immediately cease using any of Twitter’s trade secrets or highly confidential information, emphasizing Twitter’s intention to enforce its intellectual property rights.
Meta spokesperson Andy Stone denied the accusations put forth by Spiro, stating that none of the engineers on the Threads team were former Twitter employees. However, Twitter responded to requests for comment with an automated poop emoji, indicating their dissatisfaction with Meta’s response.
Legal experts, such as Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, believe that Meta should take Musk’s threat of a lawsuit seriously. Meta’s history of imitating popular features from its competitors could potentially expose them to legal challenges. Engaging in litigation could prove costly and divert Meta’s attention away from gaining market share from Twitter through the Threads app.
Threads, essentially a text-based version of Instagram, leverages users’ existing Instagram accounts and automatically follows the same profiles they follow on Instagram. Users can then personalize their Threads profiles. The app allows posts of up to 500 characters, which can include links, photos, and videos of up to 5 minutes in length.
By piggybacking on Instagram, which boasts over 2 billion monthly active users, Threads gained rapid traction. According to Zuckerberg, the app amassed 30 million users on its first day alone, surpassing other Twitter competitors like Bluesky, Mastodon, and Post, which failed to attract sizable audiences despite attempting to capitalize on Twitter’s struggles under Musk’s leadership.