In what the New York Times calls "a rare and major exposure of intellectual property," Twitter claims in a legal filing that portions of its source code were leaked online. Executives at the social media company believe a former employee who left sometime last year is responsible for posting the source code (fundamental computer code on which the site runs) on GitHub, an online collaboration platform used by software developers, two sources tell the Times. Twitter issued a copyright infringement notice to GitHub on Friday and the platform complied immediately, removing the leaked code that day, CNBC reports.
The code, posted by a user known as "FreeSpeechEnthusiast," appears to have been public for at least a few months before execs were made aware of the leak, however. Twitter is asking a court to order GitHub to reveal the identity of the user who posted the code as well as any users who downloaded it. Sources say execs are concerned that any security vulnerabilities exposed by the leak could enable hackers to make all sorts of trouble, from breaching user data to taking down the site entirely. Beleaguered Twitter CEO Elon Musk said this month he'd publicize some Twitter code by the end of this month for transparency reasons, so it can be checked by anyone for vulnerabilities. (Lots of people will apparently be losing their blue checkmarks come next month.)