In his effort to blast social media sites like Twitter and Facebook for not allowing him to be a jerk who answers to no one, former President Trump announced recently that he would be launching his very own network, Truth Social.
Unfortunately for the one-time real estate mogul, he was forced to close up shop almost immediately.
The problem stemmed from greed, as usual. The site was built with free, open-source software. That means anyone can use it as long as they make the code publicly available. Mastodon, the software used by Trump’s company to build Truth Social, is governed by such a license.
But Trump being Trump, he didn’t want that code available to anyone, and he doesn’t pay for anything. So instead of abiding by the license, he simply ignored requests for the code behind it. The Trump Media and Technology Group launched a “test” site and then refused to play by the rules.
And rather than just making the code public as he was required after he got caught, Trump actually took the entire site down. Apparently, the “test” was just seeing how much he could get away with.
In a company release, TMTG called Truth Social “a rival to the liberal media consortium and fight back against the ‘Big Tech’ companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America.”
But as usual, he couldn’t help but put his name on it in 3-foot high gold letters. An article in The Verge  from Friday said that TMTG had clearly attempted to hide the fact that it had used Mastodon to build the site, despite the fact that the basic HTML coding (viewable by anyone with a web browser) showed it was based on the open-source software. Trump’s company had actually even described the network service as “proprietary,” as though he owned the code.
Now TMTG has a month to comply with the terms of Mastodon’s license, or they will be banned from ever using it again. That would mean that Trump might actually have to PAY to have someone build his website for him.
Of course, as Rolling Stone pointed out in their coverage  of this story, an article like this one probably wouldn’t even be allowed on Truth Social, since Trump’s Terms of Service say that users aren’t permitted to “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.”
So much for being against censorship.