Meta just launched a Twitter-like social media clone called Threads on July 5, 2023. Today, Twitter’s attorneys have sent a cease and desist letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Meta Platforms. The C&D letter specifically states that Meta Platforms has ” engaged in systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.”
You can read the cease and desist letter below:
“quinn emanuei trial lawyers I silicon valley
51 Madison Avenue, 22nd Floor, New York, New York loom I TEL (zu) 849-7000 FAX (so) 849-7100
WRITER’S DIRECT DIAL No. (212) 849-7364
WRITER’S EMAIL ADDRESS AlexSpiro@quinnemanuel.com
July 5, 2023
VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL AND FEDERAL EXPRESS
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Meta Platforms
1 Meta Way Menlo Park, CA 94025
Dear Mr. Zuckerberg:
I write on behalf of X Corp., as successor in interest to Twitter, Inc. (“Twitter”). Based on recent reports regarding your recently launched “Threads” app, Twitter has serious concerns that Meta Platforms (“Meta”) has engaged in systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.
Over the past year, Meta has hired dozens of former Twitter employees. 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, in violation of both state and federal law as well as those employees’ ongoing obligations to Twitter.
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. Twitter reserves all rights, including, but not limited to, the right to seek both civil remedies and injunctive relief without further notice to prevent any further retention, disclosure, or use of its intellectual property by Meta. Further, Meta is expressly prohibited from engaging in any crawling or scraping of Twitter’s followers or following data. As set forth in Twitter’s Terms of Service, crawling any Twitter services — including, but not limited to, any Twitter websites, SMS, APIs, email notifications, applications, buttons, widgets, ads, and commerce services — is permissible only “if done in accordance with the provisions of the robots.txt file” available at https://twitter.com/robots.txt. The robots.txt file specifically disallows crawling of Twitter’s followers or following data. Scraping any Twitter services is expressly prohibited for any reason without Twitter’s prior consent. Twitter reserves all rights, including, but not limited to, the right to seek both civil remedies or injunctive relief without further notice.
Please consider this letter a formal notice that Meta must preserve any documents that could be relevant to a dispute between Twitter, Meta, and/or former Twitter employees who now work for Meta. That includes, but is not limited to, all documents related to the recruitment, hiring, and onboarding of these former Twitter employees, the development of Meta’s competing Threads app, and any communications between these former Twitter employees and any agent, representative, or employee or Meta.
Very truly yours,
cc: Elon Musk, Jennifer Newstead firstname.lastname@example.org”
Essentially what I understand happened is that the employees that were fired earlier this year by Elon Musk when he took over Twitter were hired by Meta. And Twitter is claiming that certain trade secrets and other information was brought over to Meta so they could create Threads. Most likely, it appear that Twitter will sue Threads.
Images of the cease and desist letter were shared by user gurgavin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gurgavin/status/1677021280095068161/