On July 6, Meta confirmed the launch of Threads, a new text-based social network linked to Instagram. Considered a potential competitor to Twitter, Threads allows users to write posts up to 500 characters, as well as include links, photos and videos of up to 5 minutes. The service is initially available in more than 100 countries as an iOS and Android app, but the European Union is not currently on that list due to regulatory issues.
According to Mark Zuckerberg, the app had racked up more than 30 million sign-ups by Thursday morning. Users are already actively engaging with the app, generating a significant number of posts and likes. Internal data suggests that within less than 24 hours of its launch on iOS and Android, more than 95 million posts and 190 million likes have been shared. Threads currently holds the top spot among free apps on the App Store.
However, only time will tell if this sudden popularity will be sustained and if users will continue to actively use the app.
Tensions with Twitter
On the other hand, Twitter is threatening to sue. Alex Spiro, the company’s legal representative and Elon Musk’s personal attorney, claims that Meta hired dozens of ex-Twitter employees to develop Threads, which is plausible given the many layoffs that followed Musk’s chaotic takeover of the company late last year.
In a letter addressed to CEO Zuckerberg, Spiro claims that Meta used Twitter’s trade secrets and intellectual property to build Threads, as many former employees still have access to confidential information. Twitter claims that Meta took advantage of this and tasked those employees with developing a “copycat app,” thus violating both state and federal law.
Consequently, Twitter is issuing a warning of possible legal action, including civil remedies and an injunction. It demands that Meta immediately stop using any Twitter trade secrets or highly confidential information. Furthermore, they specifically state that Meta is not allowed to crawl or scrape data from Twitter.
Meta’s communications director Andy Stone responded to Twitter’s letter in the following Threads post:
No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing.