Mark Zuckerberg speaking into microphone in front of wood background (l) Elon Musk threads speaking into microphone in front of grey background (r)

The Verge/YouTube FULL SEND PODCAST/YouTube (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

Elon Musk mocked fired Twitter employees as ‘geniuses’—he now wants to sue, claiming they helped start Threads

Maybe he shouldn't have fired all of them.


David Covucci


Posted on Jul 6, 2023

When Elon Musk joined Twitter, he took a scythe to its workforce. By some reports, Musk fired over 80% of its employees. As a result, the site has seen a degradation in reliability and content moderation.

Things got so bad that over the 4th of July, Musk limited how many tweets people could read.

Now, the layoffs may play another part in Twitter’s possible demise. Yesterday, Meta launched its Twitter rival Threads. Musk immediately threatened to sue, according to a report in Semafor.

In a letter sent to Meta by Twitter obtained by the outlet, an attorney wrote that “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 also accused Meta of hiring employees that “had and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information.”

While it’s unclear what kind of non-competes former employees were bound by when they were let go by Twitter, we know what Musk thought of them when they were fired.

In response to a tweet noting that Musk may have been firing employees who criticized him on Twitter, Musk wrote, “I would like to apologize for firing these geniuses. Their immense talent will no doubt be of great use elsewhere.”

It appears Musk now thinks that great use was to help build what many—given Meta and Instagram’s built-in user base—consider to be the most likely threat to Twitter’s microblogging dominance.

Twitter users (who haven’t left the platform for Threads) started recycling Musk’s old tweet in the wake of the lawsuit threat against Meta.

While Musk hasn’t replied to responses about his insults to former employees, he did claim Meta was cheating in building their Twitter competitor.

“Competition is fine, cheating is not,” he wrote.

However, a source within Meta told Semafor the accusation was bunk.

“No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee—that’s just not a thing,” they said.

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*First Published: Jul 6, 2023, 4:03 pm CDT