Mastodon gives TRUTH Social a 30-day ultimatum

Nor it starts too well TRUTH Social, Donald Trump’s social network project. Although, well, actually starting is a saying, because in reality the problems begin to come to him before he has even made his debut. And in this case, as we told you last week, those responsible for it must assume that it is they themselves who have gotten into a puddle from which, now, we are waiting to see how they manage to get out.

Let’s start with the background. On October 21, it was announced that the long-awaited social network of former President Donald Trump, and we discovered that his name is TRUTH Social. It was possible to think that it would still take a while to find out more about it, but the surprise jumped when a URL was leaked that allowed access to the site, which is still in private beta. Many users took the opportunity to create fake profiles, which were soon eliminated by those responsible. In addition, filtered access was closed, preventing further analysis of the service.

However, during the time that TRUTH Social remained accessible, the most relevant were not the fake profiles, although it was the most striking. The really interesting thing came when some users analyzed the platform, and discovered that, at least at that point in its development, it was based on Mastodon, a popular free software project for starting up social networks, with a clear inspiration from Twitter.

This, in itself, would not be a problem, since precisely that is the reason for being of free software, allow its use in new projects. However, that does not mean that whoever uses it can do what they want. There are licenses that govern these uses, setting conditions that must be met for it to be allowed. And this is where, as we told you last week, it seems that those responsible for TRUTH Social have tripped on both legs at the same time.

Mastodon is governed by the AGPL version 3 license, which requires that any service that uses its code must adhere to it. That is, if TRUTH Social wants to be based on Mastodon, then it must share its own code, that is, Mastodon’s with the modifications that they have made for their social network. And despite the fact that we are talking about a fairly simple condition to understand and apply, at least in the state in which it was last week, those responsible for the social network did not seem to have taken it into account.

Instead, when analyzing TRUTH Social’s legal information, the company claimed that all ownership of the site code belonged to it or had the rights to use it. And, consequently, it was copyrighted with all rights reserved. A movement that, whether accidental or intentional, has not liked anything in the free software community, and even less to those responsible for Mastodon.

Consequently, and as we can read in an official statement signed by Eugen Rochko, founder and CEO of Mastodon, things could get serious for those responsible for TRUTH Social. And it is that Mastodon has given a 30-day ultimatum to those responsible for the social network so that either they assume the conditions of the AGPL v3 license, or they stop using their code in the new social network.

«On October 26, we sent a formal letter to the legal director of Truth Social, requesting that the source code be made available to the public pursuant to the license. According to AGPLv3, after being notified by the copyright holder, Truth Social has 30 days to comply or the license can be permanently revoked.»

What will happen now? The most correct and simple thing would be for those responsible for TRUTH Socia to modify the legal information of the service, with the attribution that corresponds to Mastodon. And I personally hope they act that way. However, I am concerned that this is not the case, as Mastodon’s ability to enter into litigation with a giant like Donald Trump is very limited. However, I want to think that the image that this would cast on the social network of Trump and those responsible, would be part of the price that, without a doubt, they should pay.

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