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Twitter Hits Back Against Publication Of Source Code

The social media company has taken legal action to identify the user that leaked parts of its source code on GitHub.

Elon Musk’s platform Twitter has asked a US court to provide information on who was behind the account which leaked parts of the company’s source code – the underlying software on which the service operates.

The company stated in a filing that the code had been posted by a user named FreeSpeechEnthusiast on GitHub, a Microsoft-owned hosting service where software developers share code. 

The code has now been deleted by GitHub. However, Twitter has asked the District Court of the Northern District of California to order the Microsoft-owned business to “identify the alleged infringer or infringers who posted Twitter’s source code on systems operated by GitHub without Twitter’s authorisation”.

Elon Musk’s company claimed the account had infringed copyrights owned by the company. In the court filing, Twitter’s assistant general counsel, Julian Moore, said the request to identify the leaker was being made under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The user’s name was a reference to Musk’s previous statements that declared him a defender of “absolute free speech”. 

In response, a GitHub spokesperson said: “GitHub does not generally comment on decisions to remove content. However, in the interest of transparency, we share every DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] takedown request publicly.”

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The leak comes only 10 days after Musk promised to make the code used to recommend tweets on the platform public from 30 March. The move was meant to help Twitter’s code become more secure, as people identified and reported problems with it.

Separately, Musk has reportedly revealed that the firm is worth less than half the $44bn (£36bn) he paid for it last year.

Musk reportedly told staff that he saw “a clear, but difficult, path to a >$250B valuation.”

The estimate of the company’s value was based on Mr Musk’s offer of stock grants to staff, according to technology news websites Platformer and the Information, which first reported the story.

The leak – as well as the revelations – are the latest in a series of challenges that Musk’s social media company is facing. The Tesla owner finalised his $44bn (£38bn) takeover of Twitter in November. Since then, the company has faced widespread criticism, leading many advertisers to abandon the site. 

In the past five months, the new CEO has been criticised for dissolving the company’s board of directors, making significant changes to the platform’s content moderation policies and firing half of the company’s 7,500 workers, as well as a number of additional contractors.

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In December 2022, Musk revealed he plans to resign as the company’s CEO, although he has not yet set a date to do so, or announced who would replace him. 

Source: E&T

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