Software license terms violated by Donald Trump social media network

A test version of Donald Trump’s Twitter-like social network violated open source software license terms, according to the nonprofit Software Freedom Conservancy.

The Software Freedom Conservancy, which enforces the open source software agreements, said Trump’s Truth Social website – launched by the new Trump Media & Technology group – did not provide the source code to users, like the requires the Affero General Public License (AGPL), a “copyleft license” published by the Free Software Foundation.

The Truth Social site used the free and open source Mastodon social networking software, which is governed by the AGPL. TMTG ignored the terms of the license and “once caught in the act, Trump’s Group scrambled and removed the site,” wrote Bradley Kuhn, policy researcher and hacker in residence at Software Freedom Conservancy, in a blog post Thursday. .

To comply with the Mastodon software license, “Trump’s Group must immediately ensure that the corresponding source [code] available to anyone who used the site today while it was online, ”continued Kuhn. “If they do not do so within 30 days, their rights and permissions in the software are automatically and permanently terminated.” Earlier this week, SFC sued TV maker Vizio for a similar license violation.

Trump’s TMTG representatives did not respond to Varietyrequest for comments.

On Wednesday, Trump Media & Technology Group announced plans to launch an invite-only beta Truth Social app in November with public deployment slated for the first quarter of 2022. TMTG said its mission is to “create a rival to the liberal media consortium and fight against the ‘Big Tech’ companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their one-sided power to silence opposing voices in America. “

Meanwhile, Trump’s Truth Social site was immediately targeted by pranksters: Someone who signed up with the username “donaldjtrump” posted a photo of a defecating pig on the site. , reported the Washington Post. Truth Social is now accepting registrations on a waiting list.

According to Kuhn, SFC could not find any evidence that anyone illegally hacked the website. The Truth Social site “was just deployed live as a test and without proper configuration,” he wrote. “Once discovered, people simply used the site legitimately to register accounts and use its features.”

The SFC’s allegations that TMTG violated open source licensing guidelines were first reported by the Verge.

Trump, a notorious fountain of lies, is launching the ironically named Social Truth after being permanently banned by Twitter and suspended or blocked by all major internet platforms earlier this year.

The last straw came from Trump’s role in the deadly Jan.6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol in which he expressed his support for the rioters who were trying to overturn the 2020 election results. ex-president sued Facebook, Twitter and Google, alleging they violated his First Amendment rights; However, the US Constitution does not prohibit private companies from restricting speech, and Internet services are permitted by US law to remove harmful content.

TMTG, which has also announced that it will launch a subscription-based streaming service with “non-awakened” programming, plans to become a publicly-traded entity through a proposed merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp., an acquisition company special purpose (SPAC). The Nasdaq-traded shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. have climbed more than 800% since the announcement of the planned merger with Trump Media & Technology Group.

Under Truth Social’s current terms of service, users must be at least 13 years old (and anyone under 18 in relevant jurisdictions must have the consent of a legal guardian to register). Users may not “deceive, defraud or mislead us and other users”, in accordance with the T & Cs. The site also states that users’ accounts may be terminated if they “disparage, tarnish or in any way harm, in our opinion, us and / or the site” or due to “excessive use of uppercase “.