Twitter source code leak turns into hunt for perpetrator

Some parts of Twitter's source code, the fundamental computer code on which the social network operates, were leaked online, the social media company said in a legal filing on Sunday, March 26, 2023. — AP

Parts of Twitter’s proprietary source code were published online until last week, the company revealed in a California court filing on March 24.

The code, which forms the basis for the web service’s various functions and internal tools, was posted on GitHub, the widely used code repository that’s now owned by Microsoft Corp. GitHub complied with Twitter’s request to remove the data under a copyright infringement claim and posted Twitter’s request online.

The account responsible for the posting, named FreeSpeechEnthusiast, signed up on GitHub at the start of the year and appears to have only uploaded the Twitter cache.

Twitter now seeks the identity of the user behind that account as well as the names and other information of all users who posted, downloaded or uploaded the data. The Elon Musk-owned social network is asking GitHub for the names, addresses, telephone numbers, emails, social media profiles and IP addresses of those parties, according to its filing. The company has also launched an internal investigation into the leak, according to a New York Times report citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

GitHub does not generally comment on decisions to remove content and pointed to its publication of Twitter’s takedown request when reached for comment by Bloomberg. Twitter’s email address for press enquiries continues to auto-respond with a poop emoji.

Exposing Twitter’s internal workings may make the service more vulnerable to hacking attempts. The username chosen by the leaker appears designed to poke fun at Musk, who made a big deal out of restoring free speech to the platform when he took over the company late last year. – Bloomberg

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