It turns out that a fight between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg may not go down in a cage but in a courtroom.
Hours after Meta launched its new social media platform, a Twitter competitor called Threads, the CEO Mark Zuckerberg received a letter from a lawyer representing Twitter, threatening the company with legal action.
The two-page letter(opens in a new tab), obtained by Semafor(opens in a new tab), accuses Meta of hiring former Twitter employees in order to extract “trade secrets” and “highly confidential information” to create what Twitter refers to as a “copycat” app.
“Twitter has serious concerns that Meta Platforms has engaged in systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property,” reads the opening statement in the letter sent by Twitter lawyer Alex Spiro.
Twitter goes on to allege that the employees hired by Meta “improperly retained Twitter documents and electronic devices” while working at Meta.
The letter also forbids Meta from scraping Twitter data, such as the follower information from Twitter users.
Twitter demands that Meta stops using the alleged Twitter “trade secrets” in the letter, and follows it up with a threat of legal action.
In response to one user tweeting about the letter, Twitter owner Elon Musk replied(opens in a new tab), “Competition is fine, cheating is not.”
Some users were quick to point out a tweet from Musk back in November after a round of layoffs at Twitter.
“I would like to apologize for firing these geniuses,” Musk said in response(opens in a new tab) to a tweet referencing critiques from the recently fired employees. “Their immense talent will no doubt be of great use elsewhere.”
Twitter is now alleging that some of those employees did indeed take their talents elsewhere, to Meta, and is threatening a lawsuit over it.
However, Meta has already denied the allegations from Twitter.
“No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing,” posted(opens in a new tab) Meta communications director Andy Stone.
In less than 24 hours, Threads has already amassed more than 30 million users thanks to its tight integration with Instagram. The Meta-owned app is easily the biggest competitor Twitter has faced yet.