Elon Musk's lawyers sent a cease and desist letter to Mark Zuckerberg and Meta for copying Twitter's social networking platform and stealing employees to launch its rival Threads app. But the real story playing out on social media is much more than just two tech moguls having a spat.
First cage fights and now dueling swords, ahem, I mean, social networking platforms. It’s the story of two tech titans that have finally met their match – each other.
As usual, women are nowhere to be found, most likely relegated to holding the water bottle in a sexy outfit while these two jamokes duke it out in the name of human followers.
Are the swinging ego’s of the most revered names in social media part of the reason why more females are not clamoring to join the technology workforce?
Let’s put on our Meta Quest Pro virtual reality headset and find out – at least before Apple’s Tim Cook decides to get involved over its own Vision Pro wearable device.
It's not that comical
Mark Zuckerberg’s first tweet in over a decade (July 5th) has been described by many as a “playful jab” by the Meta CEO at his rival tech counterpart Elon Musk.
The tweet, pictured above, is obviously referring to Meta’s same-day launch of Threads, Zuckerberg’s answer to Musk’s Twitter, which was bought by Musk, the “world’s richest man,” for $44 billion last October.
Just hours after its launch, Zuckerberg's first Threads post boasted that more than 10 million users had signed up for the competing social messaging app, including female Twitter user heavyweights like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, and New York City's US representative, democrat and political activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aka "AOC," with over 13 million followers.
"Let's do this. Welcome to Threads ," Zuckerberg posted along with a fire emoji 🔥 .
A love letter to Zuckerberg
Meantime, instead of enjoying a bit of healthy competition, Musk's attorneys wasted no time and sent a scathing “cease and desist” letter to Zuckerberg, accusing Meta Platforms of “engaging in systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter's trade secrets and other intellectual property.”
The legal missive comes just weeks after Musk’s chiding Zuckerberg about winning a gold medal in a recent jiu-jitsu competition taking place in May.
Musk, in typical fashion, made headlines by challenging his adversary to a cage fight in the Las Vegas Octagon arena, to which Zuckerberg jokingly agreed.
Zuckerberg posted a screenshot of Musk’s tweet in an Instagram story at the time, with the caption reading, “send me location.”
Musk, who said he acquired Twitter to create a “common digital town square” and a welcoming environment for users to choose their desired preferences, seems to have forgotten his original mantra and sense of humor.
The July 6th letter, written by Alex Spiro – partner at New York law office Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan – on behalf of X Corp, the umbrella firm of Musk’s holdings, states:
“Over the past year, Meta has hired dozens of former Twitter employees. Twitter knows that these employees previously worked at Twitter; that these employees had and continue to have access to Twitter's trade secrets and other highly confidential information.”
Ironically, Musk’s X Corp is another tongue-in-cheek reference to a fictional company in the Marvel Comic X-men series.
The letter goes on threatening “to seek both civil remedies or injunctive relief without further notice” if Meta does not “take immediate steps to stop using any Twitter trade secrets or other highly confidential information.”
The pre-legal action notice, which has gone viral on social media, created a firestorm of comments, some for and against Musk’s stance.
One Twitter user simply pointed out, “I mean, Musk didn’t invent Twitter 😅.”
Meantime, leading up to this week's Threads launch, Zuckerberg had been teasing the summer release of the Twitter “copycat” ever since users began to publicly diss Musk’s platform in the wake of his chaotic Twitter takeover last fall.
Other social networking apps, such as Mastodon and Bluesky (founded by Twitter’s former boss Jack Dorsey), gained some traction among users, but Threads integration with its already solid Instagram platform base is expected to easily catapult Zuckerberg’s app to success.
Now, Musk may have a leg to stand on, as intricately pointed out by fellow Twitter user and IBC group Founder & CEO Mario Nawfal.
Nawfal took the time, while breaking the story to his followers no less, to write out “A QUICK GUIDE TO EXAMPLES OF FACEBOOK'S COPYCAT FAILS.”
In the guide, Nawfal lists nine examples of instances where Facebook tried to imitate other platforms over the years, such as Snapchat, Karma, and Foursquare, without success. Remember Facebook's 'Stories,' ‘Places,’ and ‘Gifts?' We don't either.
Although Nawfal agrees with the potential legal action against Meta, he also states that “Twitter and Meta are FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT,” citing the user experience.
Among more acceptable reasons, one user commented on Nawfal's breaking tweet by comparing Musk's threat to sue Zuckerberg on launch day as having "no balls." Need I say more?
And, while some social media users politely agreed “we need a new, free Twitter,” it seems the male-dominated world of technology is having a field day – likening the Twitter vs Threads comparison to an epic battle in H.G. Wells, War of the Worlds.
Ok, maybe I'm being dramatic; it's about free speech y'all.
I’m not trying to inject myself into some sort of mega sci-fi battle of social wills, just observing from the sidelines as a good (female) journalist is supposed to do.
But, what I can’t help but observe here is that the commentary depicting the escalating feud between Musk and Zuckerberg is eerily reminiscent of two toddlers on a playground arguing over which sandcastle will be chosen by the serfs as the ultimate gift to humanity.
So, what’s the point already?
In the adult world, let's call these toddlers "Bros," and you can clearly see why females only represent roughly a quarter of workers in the tech industry, and that includes the fields of cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
The overall female experience working in the tech industry is demoralizing at best, research has revealed year after year.
Even in its infancy, there has been endless documentation of underlying AI bias towards the female gender in training large language models, such as ChatGPT.
Tech Funnel’s The Latest Women in Tech Statistics to Know in 2023 shows only 11% of women are in executive or leadership positions, even though gender-diverse companies are 48% more likely to outperform their competitors (take note, Zuckerberg).
Out of those numbers, more than 30% feel discriminated against at their workplace, so much so, more than half of women leave the industry by age 35, according to research by Accenture and Girls Who Code.
As part of this coined “tech-chauvinism,” not surprisingly, 86% of women in tech report being accused of acting excessively emotionally at work.
And yet there is no mention of Musk, whose Twitter fingers are constantly ready to react with fervor to any perceived insult or challenge to his business decisions.
In fact, Twitter users seem to rally behind these so-called “passionate” and “spontaneous” outbursts on social media, especially when they are coming from male thought forms.
This is easily proven by the over 32.5M views, 32.5K retweets, 8,930 Quotes, and 252.4 likes that Zuckerberg got within the first 24 hours on his Spidey post mocking Musk and his company.
This type of masculine posturing is just one of the reasons the term "tech bro" came into existence in the first place.
All I can say is, poor Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino. What has she gotten herself into?
Still, if anyone could squash this media circus with her “Game on!” attitude to the initial Thread launch rumors, my money is on her.
It’s either that or just let these two fight it out in the cage for real. As Elon's last tweet on the platform said, "God Bless America."
We can livestream it on Google’s Youtube, just to be fair. Martha Stewart as the ref.
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