A portion of Twitter’s source code was leaked on the code hosting platform GitHub but has since been taken down. Source code is the underlying code framework upon which a digital product is built. Aside from exposing a company’s intellectual property, source code leaks also leave vulnerabilities out in the open and pose a serious threat to sensitive user data. In a nutshell, it’s one of the most invasive forms of cyberattack that a company can suffer. In Twitter’s case, the leaked code reportedly includes details of security vulnerabilities, which can potentially be exploited by hackers if they haven’t been patched in time.
Soon after Twitter’s executives were informed about the leak, the company handed over a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown request to GitHub and the content has since been pulled. Twitter reached out to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California with a request to make GitHub take appropriate action. According to The New York Times, Twitter leadership suspects the code was leaked by an employee who left the company in 2022.
Twitter’s open source dreams are in doldrums
The source code segment was leaked by a person with the GitHub profile name of FreeSpeechEnthusiast, which seems like an indirect pun on Musk’s repeated claims of being a “free speech absolutist.” However, it’s unclear if the alleged employee was among the thousands who were fired soon after Musk took over as the company’s owner and CEO. Notably, Musk’s mercurial leadership style that demands hardcore work ethics hasn’t really left a universally good impression among current and former employees. So far, there have been no reports of the source code portion being exploited by bad actors.
Twitter will open source all code used to recommend tweets on March 31st
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 17, 2023
Interestingly, Musk recently promised that Twitter will open-source the portion of its code powering the content recommendation algorithm. The idea behind the move is to boost transparency so that people can get an idea as to why they are seeing what they are seeing on Twitter. However, Musk may be backpedaling on Twitter’s open-source efforts. Citing anonymous sources, a ZDNet report says Musk has fired employees that were overseeing Twitter’s planned migration toward a more open-source operating approach.