Things are not going well for Trump’s social network

Truth Social, the social network founded by Trump Media & Technology Group after former President Donald Trump was banned from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, hasn’t even launched yet, but things aren’t going well.

TMTG announced Truth Social on October 20 and “plans to begin its guest beta launch in November 2021,” followed by a nationwide rollout in the first quarter of 2022. However, anyone can join the list. invitation for this closed beta, and the social network The iPhone network companion app is available for pre-order through the App Store.

The first problem: It didn’t take long for people to figure out a way to sign up for Truth Social before it launched, and when they did, they discovered that usernames like “@ donaldtrump “and” @donaldjtrump “were available. The New York Times reports that these fake accounts (and those associated with other right-wing personalities) were used to degrade the site.

This should be relatively easy to fix, especially since Truth Social hasn’t officially launched. But issues with the site apparently violating the license used by Mastodon, a decentralized social networking platform that appears to provide the foundation upon which Truth Social was built, might be more difficult for TMTG to resolve before the site’s debut.

Mastodon is an open source project licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License v3.0 (AGPL-3.0). This license allows other developers to use, modify, and distribute the software as they see fit. However, these developers are required to release this software under the same AGPL-3.0 license and disclose that their project is based on Mastodon.

Daily Dot writer Mikael Thalen shared a screenshot of Truth Social on Twitter, to which Mastodon replied:

Others quickly discovered that Truth Social uses a Recolored version of the Mastodon 3.0 theme by comparing the screenshot of Thalen to that of Mastodon. Viewing the platform source code reveals a reference in Mastodon too. (I hope Missouri Governor Mike Parson doesn’t learn that someone used their browser development tools to uncover this information.)

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The iPhone app paired with Truth Social might have the same problem. Mastodon released an official open source iOS client in July, but the platform still does not have an official Android client. Truth Social has an iPhone app but no Android app. It might be a coincidence, but it wouldn’t be surprising if TMTG’s Mastodon-based Truth Social app for iOS either.

If so, Truth Social’s terms of use violate the AGPL-3.0 license that it is required to use by forcing Mastodon. These terms list the following as a prohibited activity: “copying or adapting the software on the site, including, but not limited to Flash, PHP, HTML, JavaScript or other code”, even if it appears that the site himself copied and adapted the source code of Mastodon.

TMTG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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