It’s starting to look like Twitter is running into one problem after another these days, as parts of the social media firm’s source code were recently posted on the software development collaboration site GitHub.
According to a legal filing, parts of the code which serve as the backbone for the social media network’s operation were leaked online.
This incident is seen as a rare and serious exposure of the company’s intellectual property. It is doing Twitter no favors as it continues to struggle under Elon Musk’s leadership while trying to address numerous technical issues.
As of Friday, March 24th, Twitter sent a copyright infringement notice to GitHub, which has since complied. However, it remains unknown as to how long the leaked sections of code stayed live online, though these appear to have been made accessible to the public for several months now.
The company also requested the US District Court for the Northern District of California to compel GitHub to identify the individual who posted the code online and any other collaborators involved.
Heightened Tensions, Increasing Concerns
The social media company has begun to investigate the leak, and initial assumptions point out that the individual behind it could have been among those who resigned or were laid off from the firm following Musk’s takeover in October of last year. Based on current numbers, that could be any one of more than 5,600 individuals who have left the company.
However, Twitter executives also admitted that they only became aware of the code leak quite recently, thus raising even more concerns in the company. For one thing, the code segments posted to GitHub included a number of security vulnerabilities in the network – potential gateways for hackers or equally unscrupulous parties to siphon off user data or, if they choose, take the site down altogether.
Beaten to the Punch
Ironically, the leak was discovered just as Musk vowed to open some of the platform’s source code to the public. Specifically, it was the part used to recommend tweets to users. Musk had hoped to make this public by the end of this month to give anyone the opportunity to review the code and point out technical issues. He claimed that doing so would help make Twitter’s code become more secure.
For now, all that is known about the one responsible for the leak is that they go by the platform handle “FreeSpeechEnthusiast,” the name itself a dig against Musk, who has declared himself to be a free speech absolutist.