Trump’s new social media platform could face legal issues after allegedly scamming code


Prior to his stint as ruler of the free world, former President Donald Trump made his fortune by putting his name on buildings that others had constructed.

Now he is accused of doing the same with his social media platform.

Users who were able to access and create accounts on a beta version of Trump’s “TRUTH Social” via a backdoor immediately noticed that it looked eerily like Mastodon, an alternative social network known for its focus on privacy and values. of “freedom of expression”.

Company founder and lead developer Eugen Rochko pointed out to VICE News motherboard that the error message on Trump’s new social platform used his site’s elephant mascot. In fact, a user even has took a screenshot of the website’s HTML code which explicitly mentioned Mastodon, leading many to assume that he had lifted the company’s code directly.

This is not necessarily unusual – Mastodon is open source software (licensed under AGPLv3, in particular) that allows other sites to create modified versions of its technology, called “forks”, provided they comply with a set of specific rules. This is where Trump’s latest venture seems to have gone wrong: TRUTH Social’s terms of service state that “all source code” is proprietary, despite the fact that Mastodon requires anyone using its code base to recognize it. ‘where its software comes from and does any copied code. Public.

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Rochko later told political news site Talking Points Memo that he planned to bring in a lawyer and left the door open to prosecutions against Trump and his new media company if they did not follow the rules of service. of his business.

“I intend to seek legal advice on the situation,” he told the outlet. “Respecting our AGPLv3 license is very important to me, because it is the only basis on which I and other developers are willing to offer years of work for free,” he added.

The former commander-in-chief on Wednesday announced the company in particularly Trumpian terms, writing in a statement that he hoped to create a “rival of the liberal media consortium” and “counter Big Tech.”

It was immediately clear that Trump’s ban on other more established social media sites played a role in pushing him to create a new platform – especially Twitter. The former president had at one point more than 88 million followers on the site, regularly moving markets and influencing foreign policy through his pithy reflections on the news. But he was kicked out of Twitter – and Facebook – in the wake of the Jan.6 Capitol riot, and never quite regained his online audience despite several failed attempts to create workarounds and even a short blog.

“We live in a world where the Taliban have a big Twitter presence, but your favorite US president has been silenced,” Trump said in a statement announcing Social Truth. “Everyone asks me why no one is resisting Big Tech. Well, we will be soon!”

Learn more about TRUTH Social and Trump’s new media venture:

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