Round One: Musk vs Zuckerberg

Oops. After the challenge to meet him in a cage fight, Twitter’s owner Musk has upped his game and has sent in the lawyers. Meta’s attempt to duplicate Twitter is a little too close, which is unsurprising as it was created by disgruntled employees who had been fired by Elon. 


Elon’s lawyer Alex Spiro sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg threatening legal action, claiming that Meta hired former Twitter employees to create a clone. 

This isn’t surprising, as Facebook’s motto has always been ‘Why Innovate When You Can Imitate’ Unlike great tech innovators, Meta literally just takes others’ ideas and repackages them. It is no secret that Meta has a copycat culture, and we know this because a US House Judiciary Committee probe in 2020 revealed emails from April 2012 with Facebook employees stating “copying is faster than innovating,” 

Zuckerberg was asked by the Judiciary Committee whether “Facebook ever threatened to clone the products of another company while also trying to acquire that company?” He responded “not that I recall” (please don’t laugh) Remember when ElonMusk was mocked for Twitter Blue, then a few months later Instagram copied the strategy? Old habits die hard. 


1) Facebook Check In deals – started in 2011 and closed after 4 months. This was a copy of Groupon and LivingSocial. 

2) Facebook Gifts – started in September 2012 and closed after 1 year. This was a copy of the gifting app Karma. 

3) Facebook acquired Parse in 2013 but had to shut it down. It was doing well before Facebook bought it 

4) Facebook Credits – Users said it was too confusing. Credits were used by many companies like Disney Dining Credits. 

5) Facebook Messages with email – this was touted as a “Gmail killer” but it was dropped as it was not popular. 

6) Facebook Places – This was similar to Foursquare. In September 2011 it was shut down due to privacy concerns. 

7) Facebook Stories – This was a failed copy of Pinterest and Snapchat. 

8) Facebook Slingshot – This was a Snapchat imitation that launched in 2014, but it was scrapped in 2015. 

9) Facebook Poke – This was probably the first Snapchat feature imitation, launched in December 2012 but pulled in 2014. 

MY THOUGHTS: Firstly, I hope Twitter proceed with their lawsuit as someone needs to stand-up to Meta’s vulture-like approach to business: Acquiring competitors or destroying them by copying their product. 

But at the same time, I do NOT think Meta is a threat to Twitter. Twitter and Meta are FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT It’s not about functionality, it’s about each platform’s stance on FREE SPEECH

Both platforms can co-exist, they are NOT mutually exclusive. The same way Twitter is shifting to ‘X’, the ‘everything app’, Meta is expanding so they compete with Twitter. I expect both ecosystems to exist a decade from now, with similar apps, but VERY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES. This difference makes it impossible for each to copy the other. 

Twitter will always be the Free Speech Town Hall and no other platform can take away that crown. Certainly not Meta. So you simply need to ask yourself: How important is Free Speech to you? META vs TWITTER, who comes out on top?