Microsoft-owned GitHub took down a repository by a user named “FreeSpeechEnthusiast” that contained proprietary source code to Twitter after the social network filed a DCMA takedown request. The username certainly seems to be a jab at Twitter owner Elon Musk, who has claimed to be a “free speech absolutist” many times.
On Friday, Twitter filed a petition in the District Court of Northern California asking GitHub to take down the code and also help it find the perpetrator. The subpoena asks GitHub to disclose name(s), address(es), telephone number(s), email address(es), social media profile data, and IP address(es) linked with “FreeSpeechEnthusiast”.
The development comes days before March 31, when Musk will supposedly make Twitter’s algorithm related to the recommendation open source.
It’s not clear what part of Twitter was leaked on GitHub and for what duration. GitHub’s DCMA takedown blog just mentioned it took down the repository containing “Proprietary source code for Twitter’s platform and internal tools.”
The code-hosting site didn’t say if any users were able to access the repository before the company took it down. We have asked for a comment and will update the story if we hear back.
Twitter might be concerned about copies of the code that might not be present on GitHub. Twitter’s internal investigation suggested that the people who were responsible for the leak left the company last year, as per a report from the New York Times. The story also suggested that the social network’s executives got to know about the code leak only recently.
The company is facing a tough time after Musk’s takeover last year. Recent reports suggest that the Tesla CEO now values Twitter at $20 billion — less than half of the $44 billion he paid for the social network. According to a report from the New York Times, Musk also wrote an email to employees to announce a new stock compensation program that said Twitter could be worth $250 billion one day.
To get Twitter’s finances in better shape, Musk has taken radical steps for cost-cutting including mass layoffs and relaunching a new subscription program that offers verification as one of the benefits. According to data from analytics firm Sensor Tower, Twitter has managed to just get $11 million out of this new service. For comparison, Twitter registered $1.17 billion in revenue for Q2 2022.
At a recent conference, Musk said that time on users’ Twitter is poorly monetized.
“The average amount of time that people spend on Twitter per day that 250 million [monthly active users] is around half an hour or so. So what we have is — the thing that’s I think most interesting — is there are about 120 to 130 million hours of human attention per day on Twitter,” he said
“Every single day on, average, which is — I think it comes to a really interesting point which is to — just it’s startling how poorly monetized that is — because you have to say like how valuable is that attention 100 to 130 million hours of human attention per day of people that read — so these are the generally the smartest people in the world, the most influential people in the world.”
As expected, when we reached out to Twitter, we got a poop emoji.