Twitter Accuses Meta of ‘Willful and Unlawful’ Intellectual Theft After Threads Launch, Threatens Legal Action

Elon Musk’s lawyer calls the new Instagram app a “copycat” that relies on stolen trade secrets

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Twitter lawyer and Elon Musk’s personal lawyer Alex Spiro sent a cease-and-desist letter to Meta and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, saying Meta Platforms has engaged in “systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.”

The letter goes on to state that Meta hired former Twitter employees and, by extension, acquired Twitter’s trade secrets, as first reported by Semafor. Meta then used these trade secrets and former Twitter employees to speedily develop the “copycat” app Threads, Twitter alleges.

In the letter, Twitter demands that Meta must “take immediate steps to stop using any Twitter trade secrets or other highly confidential information.” It then notes it reserves the right to sue Meta over these matters.

The letter also forbids Meta from scraping Twitter data, once again reiterating that Twitter is willing to sue Meta if the situation calls for it.

The final paragraph of Spiro’s warning states that Meta should preserve any and all documents that could be relevant in upcoming litigation, including those related to the recruitment and onboarding of former Twitter employees as well as those linked to the development of Threads.

Meta’s communications director, Andy Stone, responded to TheWrap’s request for comment by pointing toward his Threads statement on the matter. “No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing,” he said.

Twitter responded to TheWrap’s request for comment on this matter with its customary poop emoji.

Mark Zuckerberg recently posted his first tweet in over a decade on Twitter, offering up a classic meme template of two Spider-Men pointing at each other. It’s unclear if Zuckerberg was acknowledging the “copycat” nature of Threads, which closely resembles Twitter in terms of its functionality and user experience (as do a host of other Twitter-like apps, such as Bluesky Social).

Twitter’s CEO Linda Yaccarino didn’t address Threads by name but said in a tweet that “We’re often imitated — but the Twitter community can never be duplicated.”