Donald Trump Truth Social Could Face Lawsuit

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Trump
Courtesy of Gage Skidmore (Flickr CC0)

Donald Trump recently launched his new social media platform Truth Social, but he could face a lawsuit for a possible breach of terms because of a license violation.

According to the press release from one of his companies, the goal of Trump’s social network is to fight “Big Tech” after being banned from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other major social media sites after the deadly Jan 6th riot at the Capitol. Trump Media and Technology Group (TMGT) announced that the social network will be at a limited beta launch in November and a much broader rollout in the first quarter of 2022.

Trump said he created Truth Social and TMGT to stand up to the Big Tech tyranny. He added that they silenced the president, but the Taliban has a presence on Twitter.

Truth Social is similar to Twitter but is like a blog of Twitter-length commentary from Trump. People can sign up for alerts through their phone numbers or email. In addition, the former president claims users can share Trump’s posts on Twitter and Facebook.

The Truth Social is, in essence, the reincarnation of Twitter which was Trump’s first love. On the platform, users can post Truths (tweets), Re-Truths (re-tweets), and Truth Feed (Twitter feed).

Trump’s New Site Unoriginal

Trump
Courtesy of Blogtrepreneur (Flickr CC0)

Trump’s Truth Social is unoriginal in code and concept, contrary to his description of the site. According to a Vice News report, Truth Social’s DNA is a copy of Mastodon, a non-proprietary software alternative social network that focuses on the user’s autonomy and privacy.

Users noticed similarities in the front-end resemblance. One user took a screenshot of the HTML that mentioned Mastodon in the code.

However, it is not unusual for organizations to use this code because of the non-proprietary policy meaning, they can use it as long as they abide by the stipulations of Mastodon’s terms of service. Unfortunately, Truth Social failed to comply with the terms.

Mastodon to Review a Possible Breach of Terms

Mastodon leased its software under the AGPLv3 license, which stipulates that users acknowledge where the code came from and make it available for public inspection. However, Truth Social claims that its source code is proprietary.

Eugen Rochko, Mastodon’s founder, confirmed that the Truth Social uses Mastodon’s code, indicative of a license violation. Rochko said that his team would get a lawyer to review a possible breach of terms.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

GIZMODO: Trump’s Social Media Platform Could Already Face Legal Issues, After Allegedly Ripping Off Code; by Lucas Ropek
c|net: Donald Trump is launching a new social network called Truth Social; by Steven Musil and Queenie Wong

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Blogtrepreneur’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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