- Truth Social has ripped off code and violated a software licensing agreement, the Software Freedom Conservancy said.
- Former President Donald Trump’s social network has 30 days to comply with the agreement, the nonprofit said.
- If Truth Social doesn’t comply, it could be sued or forced to rebuild the entire platform.
Former President Donald Trump’s new social network Truth Social has 30 days to stop violating a free and open-source software licensing agreement before its access is permanently terminated or the platform faces legal action, the Software Freedom Conservancy said.
The Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), which announced the upcoming launch of Truth Social on Wednesday, appears to have violated a license agreement by snatching the code of the decentralized social network Mastodon and refusing to abide by its terms, The Verge reported.
While platforms are entitled to reuse Mastodon’s code, as Gab already has, the Software Freedom Conservancy, a non-profit that enforces free and open-source software licenses, said they must comply with the Affero General Public License (or AGPLv3).
A condition of the APGLv3 is that every user can receive the complete corresponding source for the website based on that code. “That’s how AGPLv3’s cure provision works — no exceptions — even if you’re a real estate mogul, reality television star, or even a former POTUS,” said the Software Freedom Conservancy.
Truth Social doesn’t comply with that provision, per The Verge, and violated the license by referring to its services as “proprietary.” It shows that it fails to mention that it lifted the code from somewhere else, Gizmodo reported.
It also attempted to remove references that would make the alleged Mastodon rip-off obvious, The Verge said. The media outlet reported that a “sighting” of the Mastodon logo was listed as a bug and noted that there were visual similarities and direct references to Mastodon in the site’s underlying HTML.
—metal dot hex (@metaltxt) October 21, 2021
The Software Freedom Conservancy is insisting that TMTG offers all users access to the Truth Social source code. If it fails to do so, then the rights and permissions to the Mastodon software would be permanently terminated. It could force the group to rebuild the entire platform, The Verge said.
Failing to do this, the media outlet added, the Software Freedom Conservancy could sue for violating the terms of the license used.
Mastodon’s founder, Eugene Rochko, told Vice that Truth Social’s platform appears to be “absolutely” based on his company’s code. Rochko subsequently told Talking Points Memo that he intends to seek legal counsel on the situation.
Insider’s Cheryl Teh noted that Trump’s new social media platform looks remarkably similar to Twitter.
Shortly after its launch, Twitter users had already found a way to create mock accounts of the former president and Vice President Mike Pence on Truth Social.