Looming Legal Problems For Trump's Copycat Social Media Platform

Looming Legal Problems For Trump's Copycat Social Media Platform

Donald Trump

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former President Donald Trump envisions his new social media platform, Truth Social, as a far-right alternative to Twitter, which suspended his account on January 8 following the insurrectionist assault on the U.S. Capitol. According to reporting inGizmodo and other media outlets, Truth Social may be facing legal concerns.

Gizmodo's Lucas Ropek reports that Truth Social "would appear to be sourced from derivative code that could potentially get him sued."

"Much has already been written about the fact that Truth Social is basically a reincarnation of Trump's first love: Twitter," Ropek explains. "On it, you can post 'truths,' a.k.a. tweets, 're-truths' — retweets — and there's also a 'Truth feed': Twitter feed. Since Trump's modus operandi has classically been to take something that somebody else already did, stamp his big, fat, bolded name on it, promise it's going to be better, and then make it worse, this is pretty much par for the course."

Ropek continues, "However, it would appear that Trump's new site is not only unoriginal in concept, but also, in code. As originally reported by Vice News, Truth Social seems to have lifted its digital DNA directly from Mastodon, the open-source alternative social network known for its focus on user privacy and autonomy."

According to Ropek, "similarities in the code" were "first spotted by early users of the platform, who noted front-end similarities between it and Mastodon."

Eugen Rochko, founder of Mastodon, told Vice that Truth Social's platform appears to be based on Mastodon's code — which, Rochko said, would "indicate a license violation." And Rochko told Talking Points Memo, "I do intend to seek legal counsel on the situation…. Compliance with our AGPLv3 license is very important to me, as that is the sole basis upon which I and other developers are willing to give away years of work for free."

Rochko told Vice, "Based on the screenshots I have seen, it absolutely is based on Mastodon."



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