Twitter is threatening to sue Meta’s new app Threads, which has been dubbed the ‘Twitter killer’ app.
Meta launched the new word-based app on Wednesday, and it has already garnered thirty million users, thanks to the integration with Instagram making it super simple for their billions of users to sign up.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg received a letter from Twitter’s lawyer Alex Spiro, in which he detailed the company’s intention to sue.
It accuses Meta of hiring Twitter employees who “had and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information.”
“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,” Spiro wrote.
“Twitter reserves all rights, including, but not limited to, the right to seek both civil remedies and injunctive relief without further notice.”
US copyright law does not protect ideas, but it does protect intellectual property, so for Twitter to be successful in court they would have to prove that, for example, programming code was taken.
Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Meta, said in a Threads post: “No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing.”
Twitter has made eighty percent of its staff redundant since Musk’s takeover, laying off 7,500 employees since last October.
Elon Musk was replaced earlier this week by Linda Yaccarino as CEO of Twitter, but he has responded to the news of threats of legal action via the site.
“Competition is fine, cheating is not,” he wrote, referring to a tweet citing the news.
The news comes after Twitter has seen an increasing amount of change, with Musk’s pay-for-verification scheme seeing legacy accounts lose their blue ticks and limits on the amount of tweets users can see each day being just some of the ways in which the app has transformed this year.
On the day of Threads’ launch, Meta CEO Zuckerberg returned to his Twitter account after eleven years to share a photo of the iconic Spider-Man meme of 2 figures pointing at each other.
He also responded to a question from MMA fighter Mike Davis, who asked if Threads could become larger than Twitter.
“It’ll take some time, but I think there should be a public conversations app with 1bn+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this, but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully we will,” Zuckerberg wrote.