Twitter is considering of pursuing a lawsuit against Meta due to its rapidly expanding competitor application, Threads.
The app Threads, launched to a wide audience early on Thursday this week (Thailand time), bears similarities to Twitter and has been presented by Meta’s leadership as a “friendly” alternative.
“Competition is fine, cheating is not,” said Twitter’s Elon Musk, but Meta refuted allegations in a legal document claiming former Twitter employees contributed to the development of Threads.
According to Meta, the new app has already attracted more than 30 million users worldwide.
Many users remarked that the appearance and user experience of Threads bear close resemblance to Twitter and noted the familiarity of the news feed and reposting features.
As initially reported by media organization Semafor, Alex Spiro, Twitter’s lawyer, sent a letter to Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday.
The letter accused Meta of “systematic, wilful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property” in the creation of Threads.
In particular, Mr Spiro claimed that Meta had employed numerous ex-Twitter staff who “had and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information,” which were instrumental in creating the “copycat” Threads app.
The letter indicated, “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.”
It further added, “Twitter reserves all rights, including, but not limited to, the right to seek both civil remedies and injunctive relief without further notice.”
In response to a Twitter post about the legal letter, Mr Musk reiterated “competition is fine, cheating is not.”
Andy Stone, a Meta spokesperson on Threads, refuted the claim that “no one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee – that’s just not a thing”.
The competition over Threads has been recognized by both Mr Musk and Mr Zuckerberg, with the app being connected to Instagram yet functioning independently.
When the app was released in 100 countries, Mr Zuckerberg ended an over 11-year Twitter silence by sharing a popular meme of two nearly identical Spider-Man figures pointing at each other, suggesting a confrontation.
Not long after, as “Threads” started trending worldwide, Mr Musk tweeted: “It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram.”
Twitter’s CEO Linda Yaccarino expressed on Thursday that although their platform, boasting about 260 million monthly users, is “often imitated” it “can never be duplicated”.
Both Meta and Twitter have announced significant layoffs this year, with Meta revealing in April plans to reduce its workforce by about 10,000.
Twitter, following Mr Musk’s takeover last October, has seen a drastic reduction in its workforce of 7,500 employees, losing up to 80% in successive rounds of layoffs.