Twitter Threatens Meta with Lawsuit Over New Threads App

Musk vs Zuckerberg takes fresh twist as Twitter goads Meta with legal action over new Threads app

Elon Musk’s Twitter has written a letter to Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, demanding it stop the misappropriation of “trade secrets” in relation to Meta’s new rival app, Threads.

The text based conversation app Instagram Threads, known simply as Threads, has been openly billed as one of the best Twitter alternatives by Zuckerberg. Meta officially launched the new platform in 100 countries on July 5 to a largely positive reception. Zuckerberg announced the app surpassed 30 million users in its first 24 hours, but is now facing legal threats.

In the letter to Zuckerberg, Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Twitter said the company “has serious concerns that Meta Platforms (Meta) has engaged in systematic, willful and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property” according to a report first published by news outlet Semafor

Twitter intends to “strictly enforce its intellectual property rights” and instructs Meta to “take immediate steps to stop using any Twitter trade secrets,” the letter reads. 

Meta Accused of “Cheating” by Twitter

The crux of the issue in the cease-and-desist letter is Twitter’s claim that Meta has poached a large number of former employees in the past year. Some of these ex-Twitter employees are said to have “had and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information” and “many” of whom have “improperly” kept Twitter documents or electronic devices.

The letter continues: “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.”

It’s unclear at this time what evidence Twitter has to back up its claims that these former employees stole trade secrets and used them in the development of Threads. Musk took to his platform to condemn Meta on Thursday, in a tweet which read: “Competition is fine, cheating is not.” 

Meta Defends New “Twitter Killer” Platform

Meta was quick to refute claims of any wrongdoing. In a Threads post, Meta’s communications director, Andy Stone said: “No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing.”

People around the world (excluding the European Union for the time being) can now get Threads in seconds using their Instagram account or by downloading the app. 

Threads benefits from an in-built user base thanks to its seamless access via Instagram which already has millions of active monthly users. The ease in which a Threads account can be created has clearly led to its early success, garnering the title of the most rapidly downloaded app of all time.

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A Final Nail in the Coffin for Twitter?

Launched in 2006, Twitter now faces an uncertain future, with a string of public mishaps, layoffs and lawsuits since the Tesla and SpaceX chief, Elon Musk took the helm in October 2022.

This lawsuit is yet another in a string of legal cases the social platform is currently battling, the only difference being that it was initiated by Twitter themselves. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk completed the deal to acquire Twitter at his original offer price of $54.20 a share at a total cost of roughly $44 billion. 

However, the social media platform has reportedly seen an ad sales slump and drop in users. Will Meta’s Threads platform be the final nail in the coffin for Twitter? Only time will tell. 

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Written by:
Abby Ward is a contributor at and freelance search engine marketing (SEM) specialist. Since graduating from Kingston University London in 2015 with Bachelor's degree in Journalism with French, she has worked in many areas of digital marketing including website management, SEO, and paid media. Her specialist topics span her professional and personal interests in search social media, ad-tech, education, food & beverage, hospitality, and business.
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