Parts of Twitter’s source code have been leaked online, possibly by a disgruntled employee.
The New York Times says the data theft was revealed in a legal action on Friday, when Twitter sent a copyright infringement notice to GitHub, a platform where software developers work on and post code. GitHub complied and took down the code that day, says the news report.
It was unclear how long the leaked code had been online, but it appeared to have been public for at least several months, the Times said.
Twitter also asked a California court to order GitHub to identify the person who shared the code, and any other individuals who downloaded it, the news report says.
According to the Times, Twitter executives “have surmised that whoever was responsible left the San Francisco-based company last year.”
According to NBC News, a GitHub a user identified as “FreeSpeechEnthusiast” posted excerpts of the code. Bloomberg News says FreeSpeechEnthusiast’s GitHub account was opened at the beginning of the year. The only thing posted to that account since then was the Twitter partial code.
It isn’t known if that person is the one who stole the code from Twitter.
The Times news report says executives worry that in the wrong hands, the source code could reveal security vulnerabilities.
Investor and entrepreneur Elon Musk bought Twitter for US$44 billion in October, 2022 and immediately began overhauling the company. Since then, by the Times’ estimate, about 75 percent of the company’s 7,500 employees have been laid off or fired.
Separately, the technology news site The Information says Musk offered Twitter employees stock grants which would value the company at roughly US$20 billion. That’s less than half what he paid to buy the company. “It was a concrete acknowledgment of how much Twitter’s value has dropped since the deal,” the news story says.