Twitter is in a battle with Meta over its Threads app, which added 70 million new users this week.
According to news reportsOn July 5, Twitter’s legal department issued a cease and desist letter to Meta. That comes after Twitter was largely unavailable to anyone without a Twitter account over the weekend, thanks to last-minute changes by CEO Elon Musk. In the cease and desist letter, Meta alleges misappropriation of trade secrets by hiring former Twitter employees who have kept confidential information.
“Over the past year, Meta hired dozens of former Twitter employees,” the letter said. “Twitter knows these employees have previously worked at Twitter; that such employees had and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other strictly confidential information; that such employees have ongoing obligations to Twitter; and that many of those employees improperly stored Twitter documents and electronic devices.”
Knowing this, Meta purposely tasked these employees with developing Meta’s copycat app “Threads” within a few months, with the specific intent that they would use Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property to support the development of Meta’s competitor app to accelerate. This is a violation of state and federal law, as well as the ongoing obligations of these employees to Twitter.”
When Elon Musk took over Twitter in October 2022, he cut the company’s 7,500 employees by more than 75%. Musk continued to cut staff on Twitter after promising the cuts would end in November 2022. At least 200 people were laid off in February 2023, with many employees receiving little or no notice of their termination. Twitter has seen at least four rounds of layoffs since Musk took over.
“No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing,” meta spokesperson Andy Stone said in a post on Threads addressing the allegations in the cease and desist letter. Threads itself is a recycled concept that Meta retired in 2021, only to revive now that Twitter’s wings have been clipped under new ownership.