Portions of Twitter’s source code — the fundamental computer code on which the social network runs — have been leaked online, the company said in a legal document first reported by The New York Times.
According to the legal document filed Friday in the federal district court for the Northern District of California, Twitter asked GitHub, a computer hosting service, to remove the code where it was posted. The platform complied and said the content was disabled, according to the filing.
San Francisco-based Twitter said in the court filing that the posts infringe Twitter’s copyright.
The company also asked the court to identify the alleged individual or group that posted the information without Twitter’s authorization. The social network is looking for names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, social media profile data, and IP addresses associated with the “FreeSpeechEnthusiast” user account suspected of being behind the leak. The name is an apparent reference to the owner of Twitter, billionaire Elon Musk, who describes himself as an absolutist of free speech.
It’s hard to know if the leak poses an immediate cybersecurity risk to users, said Lukasz OIejnik, an independent digital security consultant, but he said the leak underscores internal turbulence at the company.
“While this is internal source code, including internal tools, the biggest immediate risk seems to be reputational,” Olejnik said, adding that this “highlights the broader problem for big tech companies, which is internal risk.” and could undermine trust among Twitter employees or internal teams, he added.
Musk had promised earlier this month that Twitter would open up all the code used to recommend tweets on March 31, saying people “will find out a lot of silly stuff, but we’ll fix the problems as soon as they’re found!” He added that being transparent about Twitter’s code would be “incredibly embarrassing at first” but would result in a “rapid improvement in the quality of recommendations.”
The leak creates another challenge for Musk, who bought Twitter in October for $44 billion. Since then, the company has been in chaos, with mass layoffs and an exodus of advertisers fearful of exposing themselves to looser rules on potentially inflammatory posts on the platform.
Meanwhile, the US Federal Trade Commission is investigating the mass layoffs ordered by Musk and seeking to obtain internal communications from the Twitter chief as part of ongoing oversight of the company’s privacy and digital security practices, according to documents. described in a congressional report. ____ Kelvin Chan contributed to this report from London.