In a letter addressed to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter lawyer Alex Spiro accused the company of engaging in the "systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter's trade secrets and other intellectual property." (Related: Zuckerpunch: Meta launches new text-based app to rival Twitter, then immediately begins censoring "wrongthink.")
"Twitter intends to strictly enforce its intellectual property rights and demands that Meta take immediate steps to stop using any Twitter trade secrets or highly confidential information," wrote Spiro in the letter. He also stated that Twitter reserved all rights to seek civil assistance and prevent Meta from further retaining, disclosing or using its intellectual property.
Spiro accused Meta of hiring former Twitter employees to take Twitter's confidential information. He claimed that these employees were assigned to develop Threads and use Twitter's intellectual property on the new app.
"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, in violation of both state and federal law as well as those employees' ongoing obligations to Twitter," the letter stated.
In response, Andy Stone, the communication director of Meta, dismissed Twitter's claims as baseless, stating that no former Twitter employees were part of the Threads engineering team. He refuted the notion that Meta had engaged in any unlawful practices related to the development of the new app.
A cursory search of LinkedIn by the Guardian revealed that several Meta employees hired in the last year previously worked at Twitter.
Elon Musk, who purchased Twitter last year, said: "Competition is fine, cheating is not."
The letter given to Meta could be a sign that Threads would threaten Twitter's market dominance. Zuckerberg announced that Threads piled up 30 million sign-ups in less than 24 hours after launch.
Threads surpassed its competitor and set the record as the fastest-downloaded app ever. Unlike other Twitter rivals, Threads did not struggle to gain mainstream traction and attract large user bases.
According to Zuckerberg, the app allows users to seamlessly find and transfer their Instagram followers without rebuilding their networks from scratch. Threads seek to build a "public conversations app with [over a billion] people," an opportunity that Twitter had but "hasn't nailed."
"This is as good of a start as we could have hoped for," Zuckerberg said.
However, some analysts claim that the success of Threads is not guaranteed. Some mention Meta's history of creating standalone apps that were subsequently shut down and emphasize that Threads is still in its initial stages.
But Meta also has a track record of stifling competition through successful copycat features, such as Instagram Stories overtaking Snapchat's growth and Reels competing with TikTok.
Find the latest news about Twitter and Threads on BigTech.news.
Watch this episode of "The Benny Show" discussing Mark Zuckerberg's bold move to launch his own Twitter clone.