Twitter is contemplating taking Meta to court over its rapidly expanding competitor application, Threads. Threads, launched to a vast audience this past Wednesday, bears a striking resemblance to Twitter. Meta’s leadership has promoted it as a more friendly alternative to Twitter.
Twitter’s Elon Musk has stated that “competition is fair, dishonesty isn’t,” but Meta has rebuffed allegations made in a legal document that Threads was developed with the assistance of former Twitter employees.
Over 70 million individuals have joined Threads since its launch, Meta reported.
According to Statista, Twitter has approximately 350 million users.
As per a 2013 SEC filing, it took Twitter four years to accumulate the same number of users Threads managed to garner in a single day. However, Twitter had to grow its user base from the ground up, while Threads leveraged Meta’s claim of two billion existing monthly users on Instagram.
Threads’ interface is much like Twitter’s; the news feed and reposting features felt strikingly similar. However, U.S. copyright law does not protect ideas. Thus, to win a court case, Twitter must establish that its proprietary intellectual property, such as software code, had been stolen.
In a development first brought to light by Semafor, a news organization, Alex Spiro, Twitter’s attorney, issued a letter to Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The letter accuses Meta of “intentional, deliberate, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property” to design Threads.
Spiro alleged that Meta recruited ex-Twitter staff who “had and continue to possess access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential data.” He claimed this greatly facilitated Meta’s development of what he called a “clone” of the Threads app.
In a post on Threads, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone refuted the allegation saying, “no one on the Threads engineering team is an ex-Twitter employee – that’s simply false.”
Musk and Zuckerberg have recognized the rivalry over Threads, an app connected to Instagram but functioning independently. As Threads debuted in 100 nations, Zuckerberg broke his silence of over a decade on Twitter to post a viral meme of two Spider-Man characters, nearly identical, pointing at each other, implying a face-off.
Shortly after that, as “Threads” was trending globally on his platform, Musk remarked: “Being attacked by strangers on Twitter is infinitely preferable than indulging in the artificial cheerfulness of Instagram.”
Twitter’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, stated in a tweet on Thursday that while the platform is frequently copied, it’s impossible to replicate.
Both Meta and Twitter have implemented substantial staff cuts this year. Meta announced in April that it plans to reduce its workforce by around 10,000.
Twitter experienced a significant loss of its 7,500 employees, with as many as 80% being laid off in successive redundancy phases after Mr. Musk assumed control last October.