The former president’s latest new social media platform – stupidly named The Truth Social—It seems to come from derived code that could potentially sue him.
Fresh after his last failed business venture as the 45th leader of the free world, Donald Trump has now wandered off into his next act: a technological mogul. After I was kicked out Twitter,, Facebook, i other Don recently announced the launch of his own platform – a place where MAGA sensibility can rule, whatever that might imply.
It’s a lot already written about the fact that Truth Social is basically a reincarnation of Trump’s first love: Twitter. You can post “Truths” (so-called tweets), “Re-Truths” (retweets) on it, and there is also a “Truth Feed” (Twitter feed). Because Trump’s modus operandi was classically to take something someone else had already done, imprint his big, thick, bold name, promise to be better, and then worsen the condition, this is quite a couple for the course.
However, it seems that Trump’s new page is not only unoriginal in concept but also in code. As originally published by Vice NewsTruth Social seems to have picked up its digital DNA directly from Mastodon, an alternative open source social network known for its focus on user privacy and autonomy.
Similarities in the code were first noticed by early users of the platform. Some visitors have noticed similarities in the front-end look between Truth Social and Mastodonta, and one user has even took a screenshot HTML of Trump’s new page showing the explicit mention of Mastodon in the code. The social network addressed this, tweeting a reference to similarities:
It is not so unusual for other organizations to use Mastodon’s code, because its open source policy is one of the best aspects of its platform. Users can create a software “fork”, essentially a modified version of the company’s own-account code, as long as they adhere to certain statutory provisions of Mastodon’s terms of service. Somewhat predictably, it seems that Truth Social took over the code, but did not comply with the associated conditions.
In short, Mastodon rents its software under something called an AGPLv3 a license, which stipulates that any entity wishing to use or modify its code shall make it public. In other words, users basically have to acknowledge where the original code comes from and make the copied or modified code available for public viewing. However, in its terms of service, Truth Social claims that “all the source code” from its software is proprietary, essentially failing to mention that it was picked up from somewhere else.
In a conversation with the Vice, the founder of Mastodon, Eugen Rochko, said that it seems that the Truth Social platform is “absolutely” based on the Mastodon code and that it would “indicate a violation of the license”. Rochko subsequently said Talking Points Memo that his team will seek counsel to consider a potential breach of condition.
“I intend to seek legal advice regarding the situation,” he told the agency. “Respecting our AGPLv3 license is very important to me, as it is the only basis on which I and other developers are willing to give years of work for free,” he added.
When contacted by email, Rochko repeated many things to Gizmoda. “I believe that from now on it seems that Truth Social really benefits from Mastodont. If you look at these screenshots and compare them to any standard Mastodon installation, it will be pretty obvious, ”he said of the posts on Twitter. We contacted Trump Media & Technology Group ( owner Truth Social) to clarify the whole situation and will update this post if they respond.
As you can see, the front-end user experience of Trump’s new site is quite similar to the Mastodon platform:
Trump took something that was freely offered, took advantage of it, and then would fail to attribute the credit where it came from, it seemed to be Trump’s biggest move ever. I guess we’ll have to wait to see if Truth Social will sprout wings and become a new, boiling center for online horror – or if the site will be stifled by various controversies, such as the potential lawsuit of its digital predecessor.
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