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Twitter has threatened to take legal action against Threads, a new app rival to Meta that has gained tens of millions of users since its release on Wednesday.
That same day, an attorney representing Twitter, Alex Spiro, sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg accusing Threads of engaging in “a systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.”
The letter, which was first reported by Semafor, accuses Meta of hiring dozens of former Twitter employees with the intention of creating a “hearty” platform.
“Twitter intends to strictly enforce its intellectual property rights and demands that Meta take immediate action to stop using Twitter’s trade secrets or other highly confidential information,” Spiro wrote. “Twitter reserves all rights, including, but not limited to, the right to seek both civil remedies and injunctive relief without notice.”
Meta Communications director Andy Stone dismissed the charges in a Threads article on Thursday.
“No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee – that’s just not a thing,” he wrote.
On Twitter, owner Elon Musk replied to a post reporting the letter, writing: ‘Competition is fine, cheating is not.’
Twitter has faced a host of challenges from similar microblogging platforms since Musk acquired the platform for $44 billion last year. But none have grown as rapidly as Threads, where, according to Zuckerberg, more than 70 million users had signed up as of Friday morning.
The app’s user interface looks and works much like Twitter, with buttons to like, reply, repost, or quote a thread. But users lamented the lack of some classic Twitter features, like hashtags and direct messaging.
Meta responded to NPR’s request for more information by pointing to Stone’s response on Threads.
Since March, Twitter has answered questions from the press with only a poo emoji.