Twitter has acknowledged that someone leaked parts of its source code online.
On Friday, Twitter sent a copyright infringement notice to GitHub, an online hosting service for software development and version control. Twitter, which reportedly believes a disgruntled former employee leaked the code, has also asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to “order GitHub to identify the person who shared the code and any other individuals who downloaded it, according to the filing,” The New York Times reported.
When GitHub asked Twitter to provide a detailed description of the original copyrighted work that had allegedly been infringed. Twitter wrote, “Proprietary source code for Twitter’s platform and internal tools.” Asked if they had any technological measures in place to control access to their copyrighted content,” Twitter simply answered, “No.”
“Please preserve and provide copies of any related upload / download / access history (and any contact info, IP addresses, or other session info related to same), and any associated logs related to this repo or any forks thereof, before removing all the infringing content from Github.” Twitter requested GitHub.
A source code contains elements which can be used as instructions for the program on how to function. Threat analyst Brett Callow told the Times that the public post of Twitter’s source code “does make it a little bit easier and speedier to probe for vulnerabilities.”
GitHub did take down the code on Friday, but it reportedly had been posted on the website for months, giving hackers an opportunity to steal user data.
On March 17, Musk tweeted, “Twitter will open source all code used to recommend tweets on March 31st. … We’re developing a simplified approach to serve more compelling tweets, but it’s still a work in progress. That’ll also be open source. Providing code transparency will be incredibly embarrassing at first, but it should lead to rapid improvement in recommendation quality. Most importantly, we hope to earn your trust.”
Our “algorithm” is overly complex & not fully understood internally. People will discover many silly things , but we’ll patch issues as soon as they’re found!
We’re developing a simplified approach to serve more compelling tweets, but it’s still a work in progress. That’ll also…
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 17, 2023
By the end of February, Twitter had reduced its staff from 7,500 in October, when Elon Musk took control, to fewer than 2,000 employees. In November Musk cut roughly half of Twitter’s work force.
Musk said on Friday that despite the company’s worth having dropped to $20 billion, he thought it could be worth $250 billion in the future.
According to the Times, the person who leaked Twitter’s source code apparently self-identified as “FreeSpeechEnthusiast” on GitHub; Musk has called himself a “free speech absolutist.”