As Threads tops 30 million sign-ups on first day, Twitter threatens to sue

Elon Musk reckons threads is a bit too much like Twitter and is threatening to sue Meta over a number of perceived intellectual property transgressions.

The new social media platform was launched by Facebook and Instagram owner Meta two days ago and, according to the most recent post (a ‘thread’, we suppose) from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, had topped 30 million sign ups in its first day. There doesn’t seem to be a fully functional web app, nor the ability to embed threads yet, but, intriguingly, there is a special button for sharing to Twitter, which your correspondent used after logging in to Threads via Instagram.

Indeed, the look and feel of Threads is very similar to Twitter, which has antagonised Twitter owner Elon Musk to the extent that he has sent a letter threatening legal action if a bunch of alleged illegal behaviours aren’t stopped sharpish. We know this because the letter was leaked to Semafor, a new news site founded by a veteran US journalist.

“Dear Mr Zuckerberg,” opens the letter. “Based on recent reports regarding your recently launched “Threads” app, Twitter has serious concerns that Meta has engaged in systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.”

It goes on to detail how Meta has hired loads of former Twitter employees (many of whom, it should be noted, were let go following the Musk acquisition) who continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets. It alleges that, knowing this, Meta assigned them to develop Threads with the intent that they use those trade secrets in so doing. The letter demands Meta stop doing this, as well as scraping Twitter’s data, which is probably what caused Musk to impose the much-criticised view-count restrictions recently.

How this matter resolves itself is a matter for legal professionals but, presumably, Twitter will have to prove this industrial espionage has taken place. To that end the letter concludes by warning Meta to preserve any documents that may be relevant to this dispute. If Meta has been knowingly breaking intellectual property law, it will surely have done so very carefully. It also adds extra spice to the proposed MMA fight between Musk and Zuckerberg.


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