Billionaire Elon Musk’s effort to reshape Twitter hit another roadblock Friday when the social media company, believed to have already lost more than half its value, was forced to take legal action over a security breach.
Between leftist attacks, suspected government conspirators, and a spoiled workforce, the challenges for the self-described free-speech absolutist have appeared never-ending. Friday, The New York Times learned of yet another problem for the tech entrepreneur after Musk’s platform ultimately filed suit against another website where surreptitiously obtained Twitter source code had been posted.
According to the Times, Twitter sought to subpoena the computer programmer site GitHub Friday after learning the sensitive information had been publicly available possibly since January.
“Twitter moved on Friday to have the leaked code taken down by sending a copyright infringement notice to GitHub, an online collaboration platform for software developers where the code was posted, according to the filing. GitHub complied and took down the code that day. It was unclear how long the leaked code had been online, but it appeared to have been public for at least several months,” The outlet wrote.
Through the subpoena, Twitter hopes to learn who may have downloaded the code since it was posted and, more importantly, who was behind the suspected account with the cheeky handle referencing Musk’s worldview, “FreeSpeechEnthusiast.”
Prior to Musk’s takeover, Twitter had agreed to a $150 million dollar settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over user privacy concerns that FTC chair Lina Khan has seemingly used to justify ongoing harassment of Musk, according to reports from the House Judiciary Committee’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
“The FTC has demanded that Twitter provide, among other things… Information relating to journalists’ work protected by the First Amendment, including their work to expose abuses by Big Tech and the federal government,” the report stated.
FTC is going after Twitter claim some https://t.co/6N13sBKmU9
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) March 9, 2023
Khan had suggested that the layoffs, now amounting to about 75 percent of Twitter’s workforce, were enough to warrant further security concerns. However, Musk, himself worried about the potential for retaliatory leaks, had endeavored to remove access to code prior to announcing the cuts.
As to the cause for the downsizing, the CEO has been upfront about the hemorrhaging of money at the social media company and the Times also reported on an internal email from Musk to employees that suggested the company’s worth has dropped from $44 billion to roughly $20 billion since his acquisition.
“Twitter is being reshaped rapidly,” he said, considering the company something of “an inverse start-up,” and added his belief that it could be worth as much as $250 billion someday. To reach that point, Musk has worked to cut losses wherever possible, including in productivity which meant demanding all capable employees had to return to the office as the “office is not optional.”
Elon Musk 2:30 am message to Twitter staff delivers harsh reality check https://t.co/bPaW0zE9jA pic.twitter.com/at0o9TJemA
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 27, 2023
Meanwhile, the billionaire foresees a point where at least some source code will be publicly available and had said earlier in March “Twitter will open source all code used to recommend tweets on March 31st. Our ‘algorithm’ is overly complex & not fully understood internally. People will discover many silly things , but we’ll patch issues as soon as they’re found!”
“We’re developing a simplified approach to serve more compelling tweets, but it’s still a work in progress. That’ll also be open source. Providing code transparency will be incredibly embarrassing at first, but it should lead to rapid improvement in recommendation quality. Most importantly, we hope to earn your trust,” he added.
Our “algorithm” is overly complex & not fully understood internally. People will discover many silly things , but we’ll patch issues as soon as they’re found!
We’re developing a simplified approach to serve more compelling tweets, but it’s still a work in progress. That’ll also…
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 17, 2023
Regarding the code on GitHub, the site removed it upon request but did not comment to the Times when asked about the decision.
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