Twitter was back in court this month, and not for the most obvious of reasons. Last week, the beleaguered social media platform subpoenaed Github over the leak of part of its source code onto the site. "The purpose for which Twitter's DMCA subpoena is sought is to obtain the identity of an alleged infringer or infringers, and such information will only be used for the purpose of protecting Twitter's rights," the court filing reads. Github took down the source code that day. According to the New York Times, "it was unclear how long the leaked code had been online, but it appeared to have been public for at least several months." Moreover, it is unclear whether the leak led to CEO and owner Elon Musk's announcement that all source code used to recommend tweets will be made public at the end of the month.
- The code was posted by an account named FreeSpeechEnthusiast, reports CNN.
- The leak is "concerning" as “it does make it a little bit easier and speedier to probe for vulnerabilities,” and potentially hack data, Brett Callow, a cybersecurity expert, told the Times. He added that “one of the best ways to mitigate insider risk is to keep your employees happy and that certainly hasn’t been the case at Twitter.”
- Musk also announced that Twitter, which he bought last year for $44 billion, was now worth about $20 billion by his estimations. The company has faced steep layoffs in recent months and public criticism.
A recently released report by Platformer found that Elon Musk and 35 other "VIP" accounts have monitored and given increased visibility by Twitter. The list includes President Joe Biden, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, and NBA star LeBron James. Just last week, actor William Shatner tweeted calling out the company's paid verification scheme as being akin to the Columbia Records-Tape Club scheme. "It’s more about treating everyone equally," Musk responded. "There shouldn’t be a different standard for celebrities imo."
The question here is did the leak spur Twitter (re: Musk) to release the recommendations algo to the world, or was the leaker's goal something else? Regardless, the bird app has been plagued by confusion, scandal, and seeming chaos since Musk set his sights on it. Will the continue until the company collapses, or can things turn around?