Musk’s Twitter Accuses Zuckerberg’s Threads App of ‘Cheating’ – Legal Action Looms
Mark Zuckerberg’s “Twitter killer” social media platform Threads was off to a flying start overnight with a report of more than 44 million people already joining and posting on the easy to use platform.
That’s a long way behind the more than 396 million accounts registered with Twitter, but a strong start nonetheless. Like Twitter, users can post text, add links and copy and paste in images.
The Threads app is simple to use with two tabs – Threads and Replies – a format which encourages interactions. You post Threads at left and choose the Replies column to easily rejoin Thread discussions you already participate in.
Clouding the euphoria is a threat of legal action by Twitter. The publication Semafor reports that Twitter lawyer Alex Spiro had written to Zuckerberg threatening the action. “Twitter has serious concerns that Meta Platforms has engaged in systematic, wilful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets an other intellectual property,” the letter says.
It goes on to accuse Meta of gleaning Twitter’s trade secrets through hiring its former employees.
“Over the past year, Meta has hired dozens of former Twitter employees,” it says. “Twitter knows that these employees previously worked at Twitter; that these employees had and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information; that these employees owe ongoing obligations to Twitter; and that many of these employees have improperly retained Twitter documents and electronic devices.
“With that knowledge, Meta deliberately assigned these employees to develop, in a matter of months, Meta’s copycat ‘Threads’ app with the specific intent that they use Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property in order to accelerate the development of Meta’s competing app.”
The letter says Twitter intends to strictly enforce its intellectual property rights and that Meta is expressly forbidden from engaging in any crawling or scraping of Twitter’s followers or following data.
That last sentence suggests that the major anti-scraping exercise that Twitter conducted over the past week – that led to people unable to view tweets unless they were logged in – was directed specifically at Threads as much as bots and AI.
Musk, in a post on his network, said: “Competition is fine, cheating is not.”
Meta’s communications director Andy Stone posted a denial on the Threads platform, saying “No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee – that’s just not a thing.”
There are reports too that the Threads app had been under development for months, suggesting the social network was not a quick response to recent controversies at Twitter.
Eyes will be on whether high profile celebrities, politicians and public figures – who will draw followers – join the Threads network. In the US, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez all sport what appear to be verified accounts.
Locally, verified accounts are registered in the name of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, and Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney is already promoting The Voice referendum on the platform.
The Independent reports that Threads is “already more than three times bigger than every Twitter rival combined”, and said it had achieved “10 times the users of Donald Trump’s Truth Social in just 12 hours”. There is no sign that Trump, who was permanently suspended from Twitter, has joined Threads.