Twitter Source Code Leaked Online, Musk Hunts Perpetrator; Values Firm At $20 Billion
Parts of Twitter’s source code have been leaked and the social media platform owned by billionaire Elon Musk is seeking information on the person responsible, according to legal filings.
The March 24 document filed with the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, indicates that “various excerpts” of Twitter’s source code, which is used to run the company online, were posted on Github by a user named “FreeSpeechEnthusiast.”
Twitter said the leak included the “[p]roprietary source code for Twitter’s platform and internal tools.”
Github, which is a Microsoft-owned platform for sharing code for software development, said that it had taken down the code at Twitter’s request.
Twitter has asked for a subpoena to force Github to disclose who was behind the leak.
The Epoch Times has reached out to Github and Twitter for comment but received no immediate response.
“GitHub does not generally comment on decisions to remove content,” a Github spokesperson told the BBC.
“However, in the interest of transparency, we share every DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] takedown request publicly.”
The DMCA is a law dating back to 1998 that is aimed at protecting copyrighted material on the internet.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk leaves the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, Calif., on Jan. 24, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Musk to Reveal Recommendation Algorithms
The leak comes after Twitter CEO Elon Musk said he would make public the social media giant’s algorithms that are used to recommend content.
“Twitter will open source all code used to recommend tweets on March 31st,” Musk said in a March 17 post.
The move to disclose the algorithms is unprecedented, as they’re usually closely guarded trade secrets.
Social media algorithms can connect users with various people or posts or other relevant content.
Critics have warned that these algorithms can be used to promote certain ideologies or viewpoints over others.
Musk’s decision to release Twitter’s recommendation algorithm follows a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee probe into the issue led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Cruz has warned that recommendation algorithms can impact political views and outcomes.
“In a world where seven out of ten Americans receive their political news from social media, the manner in which content is filtered through recommendation systems has an undeniable effect on what Americans see, think, and ultimately believe,” Cruz said in a recent letter to tech executives.
The Republican lawmaker said that such algorithms can fuel social media addiction and boost exposure to harmful content, or that they can be redirected for partisan ends.
During the last Congress, the Senate heard whistleblower testimony from a former Meta employee who revealed how social media can guide users and young children to potentially harmful or biased content.
In his announcement, Musk did not state whether the move was in response to Cruz’s investigation.
Musk Values Twitter stock at $20 Billion
Twitter employees will be granted stock awards based on ~$20B valuation which is less than half of the $44B price that he acquired the company for in 2022.
Seeking Alpha reports that the awards will start to vest after six months and will vest over four years; company plans to offer a liquidity event roughly a year from now, in which employees can cash out some of their equity.
Published reports cited a mail by Tesla CEO Elon Musk which said, “I see a clear, but difficult, path to a >$250B valuation,” meaning stock granted now would be worth 10 times more.
Mr. Musk also said in the email that Twitter is being reshaped so rapidly that the company can be thought of as an inverse startup. He said radical changes have been necessary in part to ensure that Twitter didn’t go bankrupt.
Twitter is the news
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 27, 2023