Months after Musk laid off most of Twitter’s staff, he is now suing Meta, accusing the competing social media giant of poaching former Twitter employees so it could create a “copycat” site.
On Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta launched Threads—a companion app to Instagram that is indeed similar to Twitter and many other competitor apps like Bluesky, Mastodon, and Post. But while the others have launched with little fanfare, Meta’s Threads has not, with more than 30 million users having already registered. And thus Twitter took immediate action.
Hours after Threads’ launch, Twitter lawyer Alex Spiro issued a letter to Zuckerberg threatening to sue, accusing Meta of “systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and intellectual property.”
Spiro accused Meta of hiring former Twitter employees who have access to “highly confidential” Twitter information and trade secrets, as well as company documents and electronic devices, and who apparently have ongoing obligations to Twitter. Meta “deliberately assigned these employers to develop, in a matter of months, Meta’s copycat ‘Threads’ app,” the letter claimed.
Twitter demanded Meta stop the apparent poaching and trade-secret exploitation operation or face legal action.
“Competition is fine, cheating is not,” Musk tweeted about the legal threat Thursday.
Meta’s response to the letter was curt: “No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee—that’s just not a thing.”
The legal action comes after Musk repeatedly expressed nonchalance and snideness toward the competing app.
“I would like to apologize for firing these geniuses,” Musk tweeted in November, in response to a report about him firing employees who were critical of him. “Their immense talent will no doubt be of great use elsewhere.”
Beyond competing in the digital world, the bumbling billionaires are said to also be gearing up to duke it out in a cage match.