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Parts of Twitter Source Code Leaked Online

UTC by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
Parts of Twitter Source Code Leaked Online
Photo: Unsplash

As per court filing, Twitter has issued a subpoena and asked GitHub to disclose “name(s), address(es), telephone number(s), email address(es), social media profile data, and IP address(es)” linked to the handle behind the source code theft.

As per a legal court filing, some parts of Twitter’s source code have been leaked as Elon Musk‘s Twitter is now seeking information about the responsible person.

Last week on March 24, Twitter issued a subpoena to the software collaboration platform GitHub for a user identified as “FreeSpeechEnthusiast”. The user had reportedly shared excerpts of Twitter’s source code without permission. In the court documents, the Twitter counsel said that the purpose of this subpoena was to identify the users responsible for sharing this source code.

As a result, social media company Twitter asked the US District Court for the Northern District of California to order GitHub to produce all information of the “FreeSpeechEnthusiast” user. GitHub hasn’t commented on this matter yet.

However, the Microsoft-owned platform complied with Twitter’s request of removing the source code last Friday. A GitHub spokesperson also told CNBC that the company shares all DMCA takedowns publicly. This specifically occurs when a copyright holder requests the removal of content from a website.

As per the DMCA request shared by GitHub, the company removed “proprietary source code for Twitter’s platform and internal tools”. GitHub hasn’t said whether any of its users were able to access the repository before they took it down. As per an internal investigation by Twitter, people who were responsible for the leak left the company last year.

Twitter to Open Source Its Code

Last week, Twitter chief Elon Musk announced that the company has planned to open source its code on March 31st. In his tweet last week on March 18, Musk wrote:

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 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.

Elon Musk has been working actively ever since he acquired Twitter in October 2022 to make the company profitable. For this, the billionaire took some radical steps such as introducing mass layoffs, relaunching a new verification program with a Twitter subscription, etc. During one of the recent conferences, Elon Musk mentioned how poorly monetized is the Twitter platform.

“Every single day on, average, which is – I think it comes to a really interesting point which is to – just it’s startling how poorly monetized that is – because you have to say like how valuable is that attention 100 to 130 million hours of human attention per day of people that read – so these are the generally the smartest people in the world, the most influential people in the world,” he said.

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