Twitter has sent a cease and desist letter to Meta over the latter’s newly launched Threads app on Wednesday, according to reporting from ABC News.
The letter, signed by Twitter owner Elon Musk’s lawyer Alex Spiro, claims there are concerns that Meta has “engaged in systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation” of trade secrets and intellectual property.
In the letter Twitter alleges Meta directed several of the former Twitter employees who were hired by Meta to develop the Threads app with the intent to use those trade secrets and intellectual property to speed up development. The letter goes on to request Meta stop use of these or face possible legal action.
Musk seemingly confirmed the letter in a response to an account who reported the news on Twitter, stating that “Competition is fine, cheating is not,” on Thursday.
Meta Communications Director Andy Stone denied the company used former Twitter employees for development on Thread in a post on the platform, also on Thursday.
The letter also says Meta is “expressly prohibited” from scraping and crawling Twitter’s users and user data. The terms both relate to data collection techniques used for extracting and indexing information, respectively.
As reported by Reuters, Twitter claimed its recent limiting of tweet-views per day was done in an attempt to curb this data collection. Musk has said the limit, currently set at 600 for non verified accounts and 6,000 for verified ones will eventually increase.
Since taking over the company in October 2022, Musk’s ownership of the platform has been mired in controversy. Part of this has come from the company's mass layoffs in a cost cutting measure, with Musk saying Twitter had gone from around 7,800 employees to 1,500 in an interview with the BBC over Twitter Spaces on April 11.
In addition to earning the company criticism Twitter’s layoffs have also led to several lawsuits being filed against the company. As reported by Reuters in a separate article, by April 4 the company was facing six separate suites alleging discrimination and violations of state and federal labor laws.
Meta’s Threads is one of several Twitter alternatives to come to prominence over the last year. Others include Hive Social, Mastodon and Bluesky Social, the latter having Twitter founder Jack Dorsey on its board of directors.
Threads, which launched on Wednesday, has seen a lot of success early on with several actors and social media influencers setting up accounts on the platform. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Threads had already had 70 million people sign up for the platform in a post on Friday.
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