Twitter Hits Meta With Lawsuit Threat Over Stolen ‘Trade Secrets’

Twitter Hits Meta With Lawsuit Threat Over Stolen ‘Trade Secrets’

Meta successfully triggered a response from Twitter on Wednesday amid the rollout of its new rival app, Threads. Elon Musk’s longtime attorney Alex Spiro sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, threatening to file a lawsuit against the company for engaging in “systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.”

Threads officially launched at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, and it vaguely resembles the crumbling memory of Twitter, which has experienced a downward spiral since Elon Musk bought the company in October of last year. Now Twitter is fighting back by accusing Meta of using documents retained by its former employees who have since left and joined Zuckerberg’s crew, Semafor first reported.

Twitter told Meta in its letter that it served as a “formal notice” requiring Meta to retain all its documents that could be “relevant to a dispute between Twitter, Meta, and/or former Twitter employees who now work for Meta.” The letter claims that Meta built a replica of its app using former Twitter employees who were “deliberately assigned” to develop a “copycat” app.

Spiro claimed in the letter that many former employees hired by Meta “improperly retained Twitter documents and electronic devices,” but did not provide concrete proof or examples to support the claims.

Meta Communication Director Andy Stone responded to the letter on Threads, writing: “To be clear: No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee – that’s just not a thing.”

Yet even as Musk accuses Meta of using former Twitter employees to share “trade secrets” to create its biggest rival to date, it isn’t lost on Threads users that many of the employees he’s referring to were likely let go in the series of mass layoffs Twitter carried out at the end of last year. “‘Former employees,’ So he fired almost all of Twitter workers and now suing other companies for hiring them?? So cruel…” one person wrote.

Another person commented: “He arrogantly fired a lot of his employees not realising that they could work for another competitor. He’s getting his payback. That’s due to him.”

Musk commented on the letter in a Twitter post, writing: “Competition is fine, cheating is not,” while the company’s new CEO Linda Yaccarino seemed to reference Threads in a separate post, saying: “We’re often imitated — but the Twitter community can never be duplicated.”

According to the letter, Twitter is also accusing Meta of accessing its data for Threads, adding it is prohibited from using any “applications, buttons, widgets, ads, and commerce services.” The company claims Meta “deliberately” used knowledge of its site “in order to accelerate the development of Meta’s competing app” and tracking its user data.

Other rival platforms have surfaced over the last several months including T2, Mastodon, and Bluesky, all of which failed to build momentum and none of which Musk threatened a lawsuit against. This stuff isn’t hard. Even Donald Trump managed to get a Twitter clone off the ground.

But as news of Threads’ launch hit, searches for Meta’s stock jumped by 455% within 24 hours of the announcement on July 4, and Zuckerberg said five million people signed up to Threads within the first four hours of its launch, Journo Research said in an email to Gizmodo. By the end of its first day, 30 million users had signed up to Threads, significantly beating out Bluesky, which is still invite-only and has 50,000 users, TechCrunch reported.

Spiro and Meta did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.