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Twitter source code leaked as Musk downgrades company’s value by more than half


Elon Musk-owned social media giant Twitter has taken legal action to identify the culprit after some of its source code was leaked online.

According to a court filing, which was published online by code-sharing service GitHub, Twitter is demanding that GitHub, which also published the leak, identifies who released the code on its platform.

GitHub has now taken down the leaked code, but Twitter has asked a US court 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”.

The code was posted online by a GitHub member using the name FreeSpeechEnthusiast, in an apparent nod to Musk, who has styled himself, and by association Twitter, as a “free speech absolutist.”

Twitter’s assistant general counsel Julian Moore made the request to identify the leaker under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998.

Proprietary source code is often among tech companies’ most closely held trade secrets. Making it public risks revealing software’s vulnerabilities to would-be attackers, and can also give competitors an advantage by being able to see their rivals’ internal workings.

In an apparent case of mixed messages, the leak comes just days before Twitter is due to open source “all code used to recommend tweets” on March 31.

Musk previously made this promise in February, although the release did not happen then, and insiders suggest that the new leak reveals far more of Twitter’s internal workings than the planned official release is likely to, should it go ahead this time.

The latest drama in Twitter’s Musk era also comes just days after the Tesla billionaire revealed to employees that the business he bought for $44bn (£36bn) last October last year is now worth less than half that.

In a memo seen by US media including the New York Times and Platformer, Musk reportedly says that employees will receive stock grants based on a $20 billion valuation for the platform, which has seen ad revenues hit amid concerns over moderation standards and the impact of job cuts, with Musk firing around half of Twitter’s staff since October. He goes on to note that he sees “a clear but difficult path” to achieving a $250 billion valuation.

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