Elon Musk Responds to Twitter-Meta Dispute: "Competition is Fine, Cheating is Not"

Editor Editor
Friday, July 07, 2023
Elon Musk Responds to Twitter-Meta Dispute: "Competition is Fine, Cheating is Not"
Twitter Threatens Legal Action Against Meta for Alleged Trade Secret Misappropriation
In a recent development, Twitter has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Meta, formerly known as Facebook, threatening legal action over what it claims is "systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation" of Twitter's trade secrets and intellectual property (IP). The letter, sent on behalf of Twitter by lawyer Alex Spiro, highlights concerns regarding Meta's newly launched app called "Threads."

The allegations put forth by Twitter revolve around Meta's employment of numerous ex-Twitter employees. According to Twitter, these individuals had access to and knowledge of Twitter's trade secrets and highly confidential information. Twitter asserts that Meta purposely assigned these employees to develop the "Threads" app within a remarkably short timeframe, with the explicit intention of utilizing Twitter's trade secrets and IP to expedite the creation of their competing application. Twitter believes that this action violates both state and federal laws, as well as the employees' ongoing obligations to Twitter.

Twitter, emphasizing its commitment to protecting its intellectual property rights, demands that Meta immediately cease the use of any Twitter trade secrets or confidential information. The company reserves all rights, including the pursuit of civil remedies and injunctive relief, without any further notice, to prevent Meta from retaining, disclosing, or utilizing its intellectual property.

Additionally, the cease-and-desist letter explicitly forbids Meta from engaging in any crawling or scraping of Twitter's followers or following data. As stipulated in Twitter's Terms of Service, such actions are permissible only if they comply with the provisions outlined in Twitter's robots.txt file, which expressly disallows the crawling of Twitter's followers or following data. Scraping any Twitter services without the prior consent of Twitter is strictly prohibited. The letter warns that Twitter will not hesitate to seek civil remedies or injunctive relief if Meta fails to comply.

In response to the allegations, Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman and CEO of Meta Platforms, received the letter from Twitter. Meanwhile, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, weighed in on the matter with a tweet that stated, "Competition is fine, cheating is not."

The letter sent by Alex Spiro on behalf of Twitter serves as a formal notice to Meta, demanding the preservation of any relevant documents that could be pertinent to a potential dispute between the two companies, including recruitment and hiring records, information related to the development of Meta's "Threads" app, and communications between former Twitter employees and Meta representatives.

It remains to be seen how Meta will respond to Twitter's allegations and whether this dispute will escalate into a legal battle.