Twitter has threatened legal action against Meta over its new, text-based app called Threads, which aims to be an alternative to Twitter, The Associated Press reported on Thursday, citing a letter obtained by Semafor.
In a Wednesday letter addressed to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Alex Spiro, an attorney representing Twitter, accused Meta of unlawfully using Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property by hiring former Twitter employees to create a “copycat” app.
Threads was launched on Wednesday night and has thus far collected tens of millions of sign ups. The app, which was created by the company’s Instagram team, arrives at a time when many are looking for Twitter alternatives in the wake of owner Elon Musk’s changes to the platform.
Meta spokesperson Andy Stone responded to the report of the letter on Threads on Thursday afternoon, writing, “no one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing.”
Musk hasn’t directly tweeted about the possibility of legal action, but he has replied to several snarky takes on the Threads launch, noted AP. The Twitter owner responded to one tweet suggesting that Meta’s app was built largely through the use of the copy and paste function, with a laughing emoji.
Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino has also not publicly commented on Wednesday’s letter, but seemingly appeared to address Threads’ launch in a Thursday tweet.
“We’re often imitated -- but the Twitter community can never be duplicated,” Yaccarino wrote.
Musk recently caused an uproar after he announced that unverified accounts in the Twitter Blue program (that do not pay for a monthly subscription) will be limited to reading only 600 posts per day, compared to verified accounts which will be able to read 6,000 posts per post per day. That number was later increased.
Musk explained that the reason for the move is "to deal with large volumes of information mining, or 'scraping,' and system malfunctions."
In a later post, Musk explained that the new limitations placed on Twitter usage are meant to combat addiction to social media and encourage people to look up from their phones.
Earlier this week, Twitter announced that its users will soon need to be verified in order to use TweetDeck
Previous controversial moves by Musk included changes to the blue checkmark. One of Musk’s first product moves was to launch a service granting blue checks to anyone willing to pay $8 a month, but the social media platform was quickly inundated by impostor accounts, causing Twitter to temporarily suspend the service days after its launch.
The relaunched service costs $8 a month for web users and $11 a month for users of its iPhone or Android apps.
In April, Twitter removed blue checkmarks from many high-profile users who did not pay the monthly fee to keep them.
Musk has also implemented an authentication scheme for users. In addition to blue checkmarks for individuals, the new scheme includes a gold checkmark for companies and a grey checkmark for government accounts.