The New Trump Social Network Is Already In Trouble With The Law And Experiencing Tech Challenges

Tech World

Oct. 25, 2021, 3:44 p.m.

A newly launched social network formed by former US President Donald Trump is already experiencing challenges. The entire site may be violating the terms of use for the very software it is built on. Recently, a crowd on Twitter started noticing that the Truth Social website used a particular social-networking software, known as Mastodon. It is open-source, meaning users can modify the underlying code as long as they abide by Mastodon’s licensing agreement.

Truth Social used Mastodon’s open-source code liberally, but, in what some may be tempted to call a classic Trump move, it seems not to have made the code publicly available or provided users with a copy of the general product license — two violations of Mastodon’s terms of use.

Mastodon’s founder, Eugen Rochko, told TPM that Truth Social is in apparent violation of its terms of use. He intends “to seek legal counsel on the situation,” he added, but would not get more specific, other than to note compliance with Mastodon’s AGPLv3 license “is very important to me,” because it is “the sole basis upon which I and other developers are willing to give away years of work for free.”

Ironically, Truth Social is getting tons of flak for its own terms of use. It bans “excessive use of capital letters” (a potential handicap for its owner), and any type of content that could “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.” According to Trump’s statement on the social network, the platform is designed to “rival” Big Tech companies, the social network, however, seems to be mimicking BigTech business practices.

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