Twitter vs. Meta battle heats up as Musk prepares to sue

Elon Musk will not sit aside while Meta’s new killer app Threads amasses tens of millions of users. A potential legal battle looms.

Twitter is considering sueing Meta over “systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter's trade secrets and other intellectual property,” a leaked letter by Musk’s lawyer Alex Spiro reveals.

“Competition is fine, cheating is not,” Elon Musk tweeted.

Spiro alleges that Meta hired dozens of former Twitter employees and assigned them to speed up the development of its “copycat” app, Threads. He argues that these employees may have had access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other 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,” said the letter addressed to Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Furthermore, Musk’s lawyer advises Meta to preserve any documents relevant to the dispute between the companies, including former Twitter employees who now work for Meta.

The letter also expressly prohibits crawling or scraping Twitter’s follower data. However, that warning may be too late.

Meta launched Threads on Thursday, raking in more than 30 million users in less than 24 hours and dealing a major blow to Twitter. The text-based social network closely resembles Musk's platform and has been dubbed by some as a “Twitter killer.”

Under Musk's management, Twitter has fired around 75% of its workforce, thrown out content moderation rules, introduced the confusing Blue tier, and, most recently, imposed “rate limits” on how many tweets per day users are allowed to read. The seemingly haphazard changes have frustrated many, as Cybernews reported.

According to Meta's press release, the initial version of Threads was built by the Instagram team. Threads is available globally in more than 100 countries but not, however, in the EU due to its strict privacy regulations. Cybernews reached out to Meta for further comment.

“Our vision with Threads is to take what Instagram does best and expand that to text, creating a positive and creative space to express your ideas,” Meta said.

The app can be downloaded for both iOS and Android devices. It allows for posts up to 500 characters long and includes links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes in length. Users can easily share their Threads to Instagram stories.

Meta investors remain disengaged on the news so far, with Meta shares down by 0.8% in after-hours trading.