According to a letter received by Semafor, Twitter has threatened legal action against Meta over its brand-new, text-based service called Threads.
An attorney for Twitter, Alex Spiro, accused Meta of utilizing Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property illegally by enlisting former Twitter employees to develop “copycat” software in a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday.
Tens of millions of people have signed up for Meta’s new app since Threads’ Wednesday night launch.
The company’s Instagram team developed the app, which comes at a time when many people are looking for Twitter substitutes to get away from Elon Musk’s noisy control of the network since buying it last year for $44 billion.
Spiro’s letter was reported on Threads on Thursday afternoon, and Meta spokesperson Andy Stone wrote in response: “No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee—tthat’s just not a thing.”
Spiro wrote in the letter—first made public by Semafor on Thursday—that Twitter “intends to strictly enforce its intellectual property rights” and emphasized the company’s legal entitlement to injunctive relief or civil remedies.
He continued by saying that the letter served as a “formal notice” to Meta to hold onto records important to a prospective legal dispute between the two companies.
On Thursday, The Associated Press contacted Spiro and Twitter to get further details.
Twitter’s regular automated response to reporters in response to requests for comment was a feces emoji.
Musk hasn’t specifically mentioned the prospect of legal action in a tweet, but he has responded to a number of caustic analyses of the Threads launch.
The owner of Twitter sent a laughing emoji in response to a post that claimed Meta’s app was mostly constructed using the copy and paste feature.
Though she did not directly respond to the letter from last Wednesday, Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino appeared to address the debut of Threads in a tweet on Thursday.
The Twitter community, according to Yaccarino, “can never be duplicated. We’re frequently imitated.” Nevertheless, some analysts claim that Meta’s new software could cause Twitter a lot of trouble, citing the buzz surrounding Threads’ debut and its strong download figures thus far.
Of course, the app’s success is not guaranteed. Industry observers add that Threads is still in its early stages, so only time will tell, and point to Meta’s history of developing independent apps that were subsequently shut down, for instance.
Data privacy issues have also been highlighted by Meta’s new app. While Threads went live in more than 100 nations on Wednesday, it is notable that it is not available in the European Union, which has stringent data privacy laws.