Twitter threatens legal action over Threads, calling Meta’s new app a ‘copycat’

A Threads app opening page is displayed on a phone.
Meta unveiled its new app Threads to rival Twitter, targeting users looking for an alternative to the social media platform owned — and frequently changed — by Elon Musk.
(Richard Drew / Associated Press)
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The hyped cage match between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg may not be happening, but a courthouse battle could loom after Meta launched its Twitter competitor app, Threads, on Wednesday.

Twitter lawyer Alex Spiro sent a letter to Meta Chief Executive Zuckerberg threatening legal action just after the new app was launched, saying that Threads was a “copycat” that used trade secrets from former Twitter employees hired by Meta, according to a letter obtained by the news site Semafor.

“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,” Spiro wrote in the letter.


Spiro claimed that Meta violated state and federal law and threatened to seek “civil remedies and injunctive relief” against Meta.

There’s no desktop version or chronological feed, but users fed up with Elon Musk’s Twitter are already flocking to Threads by the millions.

July 6, 2023

A spokesperson for Meta responded to the letter in a message on Threads.

“No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing,” communications director Andy Stone said.

Twitter responded to a request for comment from The Times with a poop emoji — an auto-reply to media inquiries that Musk rolled out in March — but Musk tweeted Thursday in reply to a post about the potential legal action.

“Competition is fine, cheating is not,” Musk wrote.

Meta launched Threads on Wednesday to much fanfare, with Zuckerberg saying 30 million people had joined the new social media app.

“Wow, 30 million sign ups as of this morning. Feels like the beginning of something special, but we’ve got a lot of work ahead to build out the app,” Zuckerberg wrote Thursday.


Threads launched in more than 100 countries, and many celebrities and brands quickly took to the app.