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Twitter sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week threatening legal action for what the company suggested amounted to theft of protected intellectual property and trade secrets by Threads.
The letter comes as Zuckerberg claimed on Thursday that Threads, which runs on a .net domain, had signed up 30 million users in its first 24 hours since being released. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, launched Threads Wednesday night.
“Competition is fine, cheating is not,” Musk wrote in a tweet replying to the news of the letter that Musk attorney Alex Spiro sent to Zuckerberg.
Competition is fine, cheating is not
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 6, 2023
Spiro said that the company “has serious concerns that Meta Platforms (‘Meta’) has engaged in systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.”
“Over the past year, Meta has hired dozens of former Twitter employees,” the letter continued. “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; that these employees owe ongoing obligations to Twitter; and that many of these employees have improperly retained Twitter documents and electronic devices.”
“With that knowledge, Meta deliberately assigned these employees to develop, in a matter of months, Meta’s copycat ‘Threads’ app with the specific intent that they use Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property in order to accelerate the development of Meta’s competing app, in violation of both state and federal law as well as those employees’ ongoing obligations to Twitter,” the letter continued.
Twitter said that it “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.”
The letter warned that Twitter would seek “both civil remedies and injunctive relief without further notice to prevent any further retention, disclosure, or use of its intellectual property by Meta.”
Twitter also informed Meta that it was prohibited from “engaging in any crawling or scraping of Twitter’s followers or following data” as laid out by the company’s terms of service.
“Please consider this letter a formal notice that Meta must preserve any documents that could be relevant to a dispute between Twitter, Meta, and/or former Twitter employees who now work for Meta,” the letter continued. “That includes, but is not limited to, all documents related to the recruitment, hiring, and onboarding of these former Twitter employees, the development of Meta’s competing Threads app, and any communications between these former Twitter employees and any agent, representative, or employee or Meta.”