Trump Truth social network failed to properly license its platform

President Trump speaking on the podium
(Image credit: CNBC)

When former Presdient Donald Trump’s new social media platform, TRUTH Social, ran a test version recently, it violated a licensing agreement and now has 30 days to fix the issue or lose the rights to the underlying software, completely. 

The site came about after the ex-President vowed to build his own website to express his opinions after being banned from pretty much all meaningful social media platforms during the height of the pandemic and the violent protests on Capitol Hill.

The Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), a company working on the idea, used Mastdodon - a free and open-source software, allowing anyone to run self-hosted social networking services. The problem with Mastodon is that whoever uses it needs to comply with AGPLv3, the software license governing its code.

And AGPLv3 says that whoever uses the platform, must share the source code with all users. TMTG, as you might imagine, failed to do so in the short time frame while the test version of the site was up.

Licensing woes

“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,” the SFC said in a blog post.

TRUTH Social now has 30 days to comply or it will permanently lose access to the website building software needed to build the platform out. 

“That’s how AGPLv3’s cure provision works — no exceptions — even if you’re a real estate mogul, reality television star, or even a former POTUS,” the SFC said. 

Soon after notifying the company, TRUTH Social was pulled down. While speculation started circulating that it was defaced, SFC believes this not to be the case.

“Once caught in the act, Trump's Group scrambled and took the site down,” it said. “It's worth noting that we could find no evidence that someone illegally broke into the website. All the evidence available on the Internet indicates that the site was simply deployed live early as a test, and without proper configuration (such as pre-reserving some account names).

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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.