Image: Sean Rayford / Stringer, Mastodon
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Former President Donald Trump’s new social network “Truth Social” is apparently a thinly disguised fork of the popular Mastodon social network codebase.
Users have already found ways to create accounts on the site although it won’t officially launch until later this year. With this access, screenshots taken by various users show that the site is very similar to Mastodon in appearance.
“From the screenshots I’ve seen, it’s absolutely Mastodon-based,” Eugen Rochko, founder and lead developer of Mastodon told Motherboard in an email. He highlighted a screenshot of the error message from Truth Social, which uses the Mastodon elephant mascot by default.
“Well, that sounds familiar,” the Mastodon’s Twitter account tweeted in response to Daily Dot reporter Mikael Thalen post a screenshot of a Truth Social account he managed to register on behalf of Donald Trump. Rochko told Motherboard that this screenshot from Truth Social “looks exactly like the Mastodon user interface with the light theme.”
Another screenshot shows that the HTML code because Truth Social’s login screen always explicitly mentions Mastodon.
Do you know anything else about Truth Social? We would love to hear from you. Using a non-business phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox or by email at [email protected]
Mastodon is open source software that people can use to build their own social networks. The platform has a timeline style similar to Twitter. While some people have moved to Mastodon for a social media experience away from more established Big Tech companies, Neo-Nazis and other extremists have also used the platform.
When the right platform Gab used Mastodon, Mastodon released a statement saying, “Mastodon is completely opposed to Gab’s project and philosophy, which seeks to monetize and implement racist content while hiding behind the banner of free speech. Mastodon remains committed to fighting hate speech; for example, our new server convention means that we only list servers on joinmastodon.org that are committed to active moderation against racism, sexism, and transphobia. Some Mastodon iOS and Android app developers have also blocked users from signing in to Gab.
Its terms also say that “all source code” of Truth Social is proprietary. This could violate Mastodon’s own license.
“The bottom line is that Mastodon is free software, released under the AGPLv3 license, so anyone can use it, as long as they respect the license. The main part of the license makes the source code and all modifications available to the public, ”Rochko told Motherboard. With Truth Social saying its code is proprietary “that would be a problem as it would indicate a license violation,” Rochko added.
Trump Media & Technology Group, the company behind Truth Social, did not respond to a request for comment.
Rochko added, “If you want my personal opinion on Trump, I can’t stand this guy. “
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