Problems with the launch of Donald Trump's "TRUTH" social media platform continue to pile up as Gizmodo's Lucas Ropek writes that observers are pointing out there is evidence the beta version of the website contains what appears to be stolen code.
In just a few days, the conservative social media platform has seen early investors pull out after discovering that the former president was attached to "Digital World, a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, formed for the purpose of acquiring another company," the HuffPost reported.
According to one investor who has a 10 percent interest in the company, "The idea that I would help [Trump] build out a fake news business called Truth makes me want to throw up."
Now, according to Ropek, the social media platform could be on the receiving end of a lawsuit over misappropriating code.
"...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," the Gizmodo report states. "Similarities in the code were first spotted by early users of the platform, who noted front-end similarities between it and Mastodon. One user even took a screenshot of the HTML of Trump's new site which shows explicit mention of Mastodon in the code."
As the Gizmodo report points out, "...it isn't all that unusual for other organizations to use Mastodon's code, because it has a generous open-source policy," however the use of the code comes with legal stipulations that Trump's people appear to have blown off.
"Mastodon leases its software under something called an AGPLv3 license, which basically stipulates that users can use its code so long as they acknowledge where it came from and make the copied or modified code available for public inspection. However, in its own terms of service, Truth Social claims that 'all source code' from its software is proprietary, essentially failing to mention that it lifted it from somewhere else," Ropek wrote.
In an interview, Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko stated there is no dispute that it is his code, and said he is looking for a lawyer.
"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," he said later adding in an email, "I believe that as of this time Truth Social indeed seems to be using Mastodon code. If you look at these screenshots and compare them to any standard Mastodon installation it will be pretty obvious."
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Trump's 'TRUTH Social' platform scrutinized over accusations of stolen code youtu.be