Trump social network given 30 days to stop breaking software license
Former President Donald Trump's new social media platform, TRUTH Social, has been given 30 days to comply with the software's terms of license before its access is terminated. If it fails to comply, the platform may face legal action or have to rebuild from scratch.
Trump Media and Technology Group, a new company started by the former president, announced Wednesday it would soon launch TRUTH Social, a new platform aiming to "stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech." The site is being built with the open-source software Mastodon.
The Software Freedom Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that provides support and legal services for open-source software, said Friday that while anyone can use Mastodon's code for free to build online platforms, they must comply with its license that requires offering the user's own source code, which TRUTH Social has not done.
TRUTH Social refers to its platform and software code as "proprietary." Unless it changes its approach and opens up its code for users to view within 30 days, the platform can no longer use the Mastodon software it has been built upon.
“The license purposefully treats everyone equally (even people we don’t like or agree with), but they must operate under the same rules of the copyleft licenses that apply to everyone else,” Bradley Kuhn, policy fellow and hacker-in-residence at Software Freedom Conservancy, wrote in a blog post . “Today, we saw the Trump Media and Technology Group ignoring those important rules — which were designed for the social good.”
Although TRUTH Social hasn't launched yet — it is requiring users to join a waitlist — users on Thursday managed to access a trial version of the platform to create prank accounts and fake announcements, including grotesque posts from a fake Donald Trump account.
If TRUTH Social does not open up its source code for users to access within the next 30 days and continues to use the Mastodon software, the conservancy would have grounds to sue the Trump Media and Technology Group for violating the terms of the software license.
“We will be following this issue very closely and demanding that Trump’s Group give the corresponding source to all who use the site,” Kuhn wrote.
Trump is banned from almost every major social media platform — including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit — because of his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. As a result, he has been eager to return to social media after struggling to get his message out to the public for the past few months.
"We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced. This is unacceptable," Trump said earlier this week. "I am excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon. TMTG was founded with a mission to give a voice to all."
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