Twitter Accuses Meta of Poaching Employees to Build Threads

Twitter appears to be unhappy with the runaway success of Threads, Meta's Twitter alternative that launched last night. Threads has amassed more than 30 million users in under 24 hours, making it the biggest threat to Twitter to date.

Twitter Feature
According to Semafor, Twitter lawyer Alex Spiro yesterday sent Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg a letter [PDF] accusing Meta of "systemic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter's trade secrets and other intellectual property."

Twitter claims that Meta hired "dozens" of former Twitter employees that "had and continue to have access to Twitter's trade secrets and other highly confidential information." The company further says that the employees "improperly retained Twitter documents and electronic devices," and that Meta took advantage of this to have those workers develop the "copycat" Threads app on an accelerated timeline.

When Elon Musk took over as CEO of Twitter, he fired thousands of employees who then had to look for work. It is likely that some of those employees transitioned to Meta, but hiring people actively looking for a job is not typically considered poaching.

Twitter's letter says that it plans to "enforce its intellectual property rights," with the company demanding that Meta "take immediate steps to stop using any Twitter trade secrets." Twitter threatens that it reserves the right to seek "civil remedies and injunctive relief" to prevent Meta from using its intellectual property.

Along with claims that Meta poached Twitter employees to develop Threads, Twitter says that Meta is "expressly prohibited" from scraping Twitter's followers or following data. Twitter is asking Meta to "preserve any documents" that could be relevant to a future dispute, suggesting that Twitter might be planning to file a lawsuit in the future.

Twitter has not gone after other Twitter-like social networks that include Bluesky and Mastodon, but Threads is a newly-launched app that is built off of Instagram, giving it a notable user base from its debut. Mastodon and Bluesky have far fewer users. In February, for example, Mastodon had 1.4 million active users, while Bluesky had 50,000 users at the end of April.

Following Twitter's accusations, Meta's communications director Andy Stone said that no one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee. "That's just not a thing," he wrote.

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Top Rated Comments

ss2cire Avatar
12 months ago
My gut reaction.. shouldn’t have fired 90% of your workforce…. They need new jobs… Meta was willing to hire…
Score: 133 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
12 months ago
So let me get this straight. Elon:

* Overpaid for Twitter
* Fired the vast majority of their employees
* Is somehow labeling the hiring of said fired employees as "poaching"
* Thinks Twitter has some magic proprietary technology that enables them to post text to a website that FaceBook could never figure out on their own
* Has driven the company into the ground by:

* Not having enough employees to keep servers and code operational
* Completely destroyed the third party app community
* Scared off advertisers with his promotion of hateful content
* Scared off users with his promotion of hateful content
* Artificially boosted the ranking of his own stupid tweets so everyone is forced to see them
* Made the platform less secure by removing two factor authentication
* Made people pay to view Tweets

* Somehow thinks he is the victim in all of this, the poor billionaire

I hate Facebook and Zuck as much as the next guy, but **** Elon Musk for real. What a loser.

Tired of these billionaires having so much power. We need to rise up against them.
Score: 123 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EmilGH Avatar
12 months ago
Is it poaching if you were fired by a megalomaniac via Tweet?
Score: 92 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Huracan Avatar
12 months ago
Let me see if I understand the sequence of events. Musk makes an outlandish offer to buy Twitter. Twitter calls the bluff and accepts. Musk gets cold feet and tries to wiggle out of the deal by claiming some made up issues with fake accounts (by the way, what has he done about bots and fake accounts now that he owns Twitter?). Musk is forced to buy Twitter or face the court system. Reluctantly buys the company and in a show of petty vindictiveness starts firing people all over the company. Things go down from there and continue going down. Claims some sort of freedom of expression crusade but it seems to be mostly allowing disinformation and hate go rampant. When you fire so many employees chances are some of them are going to end up creating a better version of your product. That is the computer industry ethos. Don't complain for a problem of your own creation. Way to tarnish your reputation after Tesla and SpaceX.
Score: 76 Votes (Like | Disagree)
asdfjkl; Avatar
12 months ago
* Billionaire fires 90% of workforce in a stunningly Dunning-Kruger moment.
* Said workers look for new jobs
* Billionaire sues because "how dare they get new jobs?"

Zukerberg and Musk are both idiots. Apparently Zukerberg is slightly less stupid than Musk. We'd all be better off if neither of them were anywhere as near as rich and powerful as they are.
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jack Burton Avatar
12 months ago
Should have had that cage match instead.
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)