Software Developer Gives Trump’s Social Media Platform 30 Days to Release Source Code

FFormer President Donald Trump’s new social media company has 30 days to release the source code for its software or risk losing it, the developer said in a letter.

Mastodon, an open source social media platform, has written to Trump’s legal director TRUTH Social Tuesday asking him to comply with Mastodon’s open source software license or risk losing access to the software.

“On October 26, we sent an official letter to Truth Social’s General Counsel, requesting that the source code be released in accordance with the license,” Mastodon co-founder Eugen Rochko said on a Friday. Press release. “Truth Social has 30 days to comply or the license may be permanently revoked.”


Mastodon had previously hinted at a lawsuit over screenshots apparently showing TRUTH Social lifting code from the software developer without attribution, with founder Eugen Rochko saying earlier this month that he “had the intention[ed] to take legal action. ”

The former president’s social media company came under scrutiny after hackers discovered a backdoor link in the beta of the website. Hours after the October 20 launch, trolls created several fake accounts masquerading as Trump and his associates before the team at TRUTH Social deleted their accounts. When screenshots of the beta leaked, users discovered that the website was running on Mastodon, open source software used to build social networks separate from Big Tech.

Mastodon operates under a AGPLv3 open source license, which requires any company or person who uses the code and modifies it to make the modifications publicly available. Other developers can also use this code if they wish. Gab, a right-wing social network, also uses this software for its user base.

Despite the terms of use of Mastodon, the terms of TRUTH Social Claim The website and all of its source code and software are the exclusive property of Trump Media & Technology Group, which implies that the software or any modifications made by TMTG will not be accessible to the public, an apparent violation of the AGPLv3 license.

Mastodon said on Friday, “with regard to personal feelings [regarding Trump], of course, we would prefer people so opposed to our values ​​not to use and benefit from our work, ”but the company noted that the political differences were not the spur of the moment.

“The only problem we can fix with something like Truth Social is if they don’t even comply with the free software license under which we publish our work,” the company added.

The Software Freedom Conservancy, a nonprofit that provides legal support and services for open source software, warned TMTG on October 22 that it would sue the special purpose acquisition company if it did not open its source code for users to access within 30 days. . The organization has not responded to this day.


Since Trump was taken off the platform of Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites for his words and actions before the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill, he has spoken out against Big Tech, arguing that the platforms had censored it. Trump filed a lawsuit to restore his Twitter and Facebook accounts in early October, and he filed a class action lawsuit in July for censorship.