Twitter has filed a lawsuit to prevent a potentially damaging loss of the source code that underpins its service, after parts of the code and other software were posted online.
The social media company acted on Friday to have the code removed from GitHub, a repository widely used in the software world to publish open-source code for everyone to use. He also requested a subpoena that would force GitHub to reveal everything she knew about the identity of the person who leaked the code.
The underlying software instructions that determine how programs operate, the source code is closely guarded to prevent hackers from obtaining information that could be used to attack the system.
In a filing in federal court in the Northern District of California, Twitter revealed that on Friday night GitHub responded to a legal notice to remove code from its site. According to Julian Moore, director of Twitter’s internal legal team, the leaked software included “proprietary source code for Twitter’s internal platform and tools.” It was unclear how long the code was available online before Twitter intervened.
The potential loss of Twitter’s most important intellectual property follows a period of internal turmoil after Elon Musk bought the company for $44 billion in October last year. This has led to warnings that its underlying technology could be disrupted, including sabotage by disgruntled workers.
The news comes after Musk on Friday offered Twitter employees stock rewards based on a new valuation of about $20 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter and first reported by The Information.
Musk tried to restore the financial health of the loss-making company while facing an exodus of advertisers and having to pay $1.5 billion in interest on the $13 billion in debt he used to the purchase of Twitter.
The source code was posted by a user known only as ‘FreeSpeechEnthusiast’ – an apparent swipe at Elon Musk, who said when he bought Twitter last year he was doing it to protect freedom of speech. expression.
According to former employees, Musk has been concerned about possible sabotage of Twitter’s operations since he completed his acquisition of the site. He alienated many employees early on after making it clear he intended to overhaul a culture he said had led to unwarranted censorship and said many workers would lose their jobs.
Twitter took steps to try to protect its core technology during its first sweeping job cuts, cut about half of its 7,500 employees. At the time, it implemented a temporary code freeze to prevent any changes to its app during the job cuts.
Alex Spiro, Musk’s attorney and partner of Quinn Emanuel, who filed the subpoena against GitHub, did not respond to a request for comment.