Thursday, Elon Musk’s attorneys sent a cease-and-desist letter to Meta in response to the company’s launch of the competing platform Threads. Mark Zuckerberg owns the Meta site.
According to the letter, Meta unlawfully retained the app’s trade secrets while using former Twitter employees to develop Threads. Since the app’s launch on Wednesday, at least 30 million people have enrolled for it, according to Zuckerberg.
As first reported by Semafor, Musk’s personal attorney, Alex Spiro, sent a formal letter to Mark Zuckerberg expressing Twitter’s “serious concerns” regarding the legality of Threads on the same evening that Meta launched its new text-based service.
Insider has confirmed the letter’s claim that Meta used “Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property” to create Threads.
In addition, Spiro alleged in his letter that Meta had hired “dozens of former Twitter employees,” some of whom had “improperly retained Twitter documents and electronic devices.” In addition, he implied that Meta had been “crawling and scraping” Twitter for information on its users and followers by reminding the company that such behavior is “expressly prohibited.”
Twitter abruptly implemented rate limits for all users over the weekend. The company explained after the fact that this was done to prevent other companies from obtaining its data and as a precaution against malware exploiting the network.
Communications director Andy Stone directed Insider to a Threads post in which he stated, “To be clear, no one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing.” Stone responded to Twitter’s claim that Meta was “scraping” data with the following Threads comment: “Interesting, given that Threads is powered by INSTAGRAM.”
Twitter representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment submitted prior to publication. Musk tweeted in response to a Twitter account that shared the letter’s contents, “Competition is fine, cheating is not.”
Despite the fact that there is and has been employee overlap between Meta and Twitter, a source familiar with both companies reported that only a small number of former Twitter employees are currently employed by Meta, and none of them appear to be working on Threads. Since taking over the social media network in late October, Musk has fired or let go of thousands of Twitter programmers, according to a second Twitter expert.
Where once there were more than 3,500 engineers, there are now fewer than 500. Moreover, according to the source, Twitter’s lower-level employees and engineers did not have non-compete clauses that would have prevented them from applying for positions at Meta or any other digital company. CONTINUE READING…