Twitter Threatens To Sue Meta Over Its Threads Competitor

Barely a day after Meta launched a Twitter competitor called Threads and amassed an impressive 30+ million users, the specter of a bombshell Twitter versus Meta lawsuit has started to loom. According to Semafor, which obtained a copy of a letter sent by Twitter to Meta, the Elon Musk-led company isn't too happy with how Mark Zuckerberg's Meta seemingly copied the Twitter formula in a very short time — doing so, the lawsuit claims, by using shady tactics.

As per the note sent by Twitter's legal representative Alex Spiro, Meta is accused of aggressively poaching talent from Twitter and deploying them to create a clone app, which it launched as Threads. It claims that the employees hired by Meta "had access to Twitter's trade secrets and other highly confidential information," further alleging that many of them "improperly retained Twitter documents and electronics devices."

The letter goes on to claim that Meta wilfully tasked these ex-Twitter employees with creating Threads on an urgent basis by using their knowledge of Twitter and its intellectual properties. While the letter doesn't clarify if a lawsuit is imminent, it hints that the company — which now operates under X Corp — could seek injunctive relief from the court to stop Meta from doing further damage.

Threads is Twitter's biggest threat so far

Twitter's allegations are serious, but a Meta spokesperson told Semafor that the Threads team had no former Twitter employees in its ranks, and Facebook communications director Andy Stone seemingly confirmed that with a thread. But Twitter is not merely targeting Meta over its alleged "unlawful misappropriation" of copyright-protected information. The Elon Musk-owned social media platform has also directed Meta to immediately pause the alleged scraping of any data linked to the millions of Twitter users across the globe. In a tweet on the matter, Elon Musk took a jab at Meta, suggesting that it cheated to create Threads:

Musk, who recently vacated the CEO role and hired Linda Yaccarino to lead the company, isn't a fan of data scraping. In April 2023, he even threatened Microsoft with legal action over allegations that it improperly obtained and used Twitter data to train its AI models. That lawsuit hasn't materialized so far. But in Meta's case, it looks like a court showdown is imminent. Twitter has asked Meta to keep all the hiring-related documents ready, supposedly toward using them as defense material in court. 

Looking at threads, it appears that Meta took liberal inspiration from Twitter, generously imitating the UI and copying some of the core functions such as likes, reposting, and sharing — though, to be fair, those features aren't unique to Twitter. The biggest core difference is that Meta has integrally tied Threads to Instagram, and with such aggressive zeal that you will have to delete your Instagram account if you ever wish to get rid of your Threads account.