As Twitter moves towards open-sourcing its algorithmic code base, which Elon Musk has committed to releasing this week, the company’s also working to contain a leak of the app’s overall source code, which was published on GitHub some time back.
As reported earlier this week, upon discovery of the source code leak, Twitter immediately called on GitHub to remove the proprietary info, while also seeking to uncover the person responsible for publishing it. And now, Twitter’s moved a step closer in this regard, with a Californian court granting its request to force GitHub to release information on the original poster.
As per Bloomberg:
“GitHub must provide personal identifying information associated with the account FreeSpeechEnthusiast by April 3, according to the order signed by a court clerk on Tuesday. Github didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.”
The leaker, believed to be a disgruntled former employee, could face significant legal ramifications for the leak, with the source code info opening Twitter up to significant risk from hackers and competitors who may be looking to replicate its functions.
If they can figure out who it is. You would assume that anyone leaking such info to GitHub would have a pretty good working knowledge of how the system functions, and they’ve likely hidden their digital footprints pretty well as a result. But still, Twitter will be pushing to unmask the culprit, as it moves into damage control to mitigate risks associated with the info leak.
At the same time, as noted, Twitter’s still scheduled to release its algorithmic source code sometime this week.
Twitter will open source all code used to recommend tweets on March 31st
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 17, 2023
Musk also noted that Twitter’s content algorithm is ‘overly complex & not fully understood internally’, with this release, ideally, helping the Twitter team to simplify and improve its systems, in order to better align with user expectations and desires.
Whether that works out or not remains to be seen. The risk with releasing algorithmic sorting info is that it also opens up the platform to manipulation by spammers and scammers, who’ll now have a roadmap to potential vulnerabilities in the system.
Add the leak of the overall source code to this, and Twitter could well be at high risk of manipulation, higher than ever before.
Though that’s speculative, as we don’t know who’s accessed the source code info, or what exactly Musk and Co. will share in this algorithmic overview.
Like, will the overview include details on Twitter’s VIP list of accounts that get extra amplification in the app? That seems like the Twitter 2.0 team meddling with trends, which is something that Musk has heavily criticized past Twitter management for.
Seems unlikely that this will be mentioned – so will it really be a full overview, or an edited, condensed version?
We’ll likely find out soon, with Twitter’s algorithmic code set to be released shortly.