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Twitter threatens to sue Threads

July 7, 2023

Twitter is considering legal action against Meta over its newly-launched rival app Threads.

Threads, which went live on July 5th and is said to already have attracted over 30 million sign-ups, has been pitched by Meta as a “friendly” alternative to Twitter.

However, according to Semafor, Twitter attorney Alex Spiro has sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg accusing Meta of “systematic, wilful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property” to create Threads.

Specifically, Spiro alleged that Meta had hired a number of former Twitter employees who “had and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information” that ultimately helped Meta develop what he termed the “copycat” Threads app.

“Twitter intends to strictly enforce its intellectual property rights, and demands that Meta take immediate steps to stop using any Twitter trade secrets or other highly confidential information,” the letter added. “Twitter reserves all rights, including, but not limited to, the right to seek both civil remedies and injunctive relief without further notice.”

Twitter owner Elon Musk said in a tweet: “competition is fine, cheating is not”.

Meta has denied all claims that any ex-Twitter staff helped create Threads. Meta spokesperson, Andy Stone, commented via Threads: “no one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee – that’s just not a thing”.

“It feels like an opportune moment to launch a new rival to Twitter,” says Paolo Pescatore, TMT Analyst at PP Foresight.  “With all the euphoria around other social media platforms, there does not seem to be a distinct rival to Twitter (for now),” he suggests.

“Since Musk’s takeover, the company has been on a rollercoaster. And this launch will no doubt create more twists and turns. The latest chapter in the Musk and Twitter saga and user discontent clearly demonstrates the need for a true alternative.”

“The dominance of big tech continues to grow which will raise further concerns among regulators.”

“Ultimately the launch is all about diversifying, creating the next big thing that captures public attention, which will drive engagement and generate new revenue streams.”

“Meta stands a better chance than most, given its scale and ability to attract millions of current users, but whether others can succeed and if there is a role for another app remains unclear.

“These moves will raise further concerns among regulators given the growing dominance of big tech, and the amount of information one company possesses,” he warns.

“The notion of a super app is not new and is very much needed in the video world, as many users have a few apps by category whether that’s video, news, social media, or games to name a few. People are now getting increasingly frustrated with a slew of apps, so driving usage all towards one destination will increase engagement and ultimately make it easier for them,” he predicts.

“By having a better sense of users’ habits under one super app, we will expect to see more hyper personalised services, features and offers. This opens up scope for plentiful business models including subscription, a la carte and of course ads.”

“Timing in this endeavour will be key, and the merits will need to be clear for users to get on board,” he concludes.

Categories: Articles, Policy, Regulation, Social Media

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