24 votes

Former US president Donald Trump launches 'TRUTH' social

27 comments

  1. drannex
    (edited )
    Link
    Seems to be running a fork of Mastodon, which is AGPL licensed, meaning that this could easily be shut down due to improper usage. I bet any number of lawyers would happily attach themselves to...

    Seems to be running a fork of Mastodon, which is AGPL licensed, meaning that this could easily be shut down due to improper usage. I bet any number of lawyers would happily attach themselves to that lawsuit in the coming months.

    Edit:

    There is no copy of the GPL anywhere, changes have not been stated, source has not been disclosed, users have no access to a copy of the source code and it does not have the same license at all (AGPL3).
    https://mobile.twitter.com/VValkyriePub/status/1451039567331528704

    Mastodon has also taken notice already: https://mobile.twitter.com/joinmastodon/status/1451038281173504001

    26 votes
  2. [7]
    mtset
    Link
    It's pretty clearly an AGPL-noncompliant fork of Mastodon; I'm excited to see the outcome of Software Freedom Conservancy v. Trump.

    It's pretty clearly an AGPL-noncompliant fork of Mastodon; I'm excited to see the outcome of Software Freedom Conservancy v. Trump.

    24 votes
    1. [6]
      nothis
      Link Parent
      So is there a link or something?

      So is there a link or something?

      1. [5]
        mtset
        Link Parent
        What are you looking for a link to? If you look at the site, you can see that it's using the Mastodon interface, and it responds to Mastodon client API calls.

        What are you looking for a link to? If you look at the site, you can see that it's using the Mastodon interface, and it responds to Mastodon client API calls.

        7 votes
        1. [4]
          nothis
          Link Parent
          I'm just curious.

          I'm just curious.

          1. [3]
            mtset
            Link Parent
            Totally - but I'm just not sure what you're curious about. How people realized it was running Mastodon?

            Totally - but I'm just not sure what you're curious about. How people realized it was running Mastodon?

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              nothis
              Link Parent
              I had no idea it was "Mastodon" when I typed this out, lol. I'm not even sure what Mastodon is (open source twitter?). I was just curious if you'd see a big picture of Trump asking you to give him...

              I had no idea it was "Mastodon" when I typed this out, lol. I'm not even sure what Mastodon is (open source twitter?). I was just curious if you'd see a big picture of Trump asking you to give him money or something, like an eccentric billionaire version of Jimmy Wales. Are there curated slots for articles or are you supposed to only see your friends' posts? Do they have a section with policies? Those would be interesting! I have no idea what a platform called "TRUTH Social" would even look like, it seems absurd beyond my imagination.

              Not appreciating the implied tone of me having some nefarious plans in visiting the site. Curiosity is a thing, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to justify, here.

              1 vote
              1. mtset
                Link Parent
                Not at all, I'm so sorry. You asked for more info, I wanted to know what to provide more info on. There's no link to the site right now because it's down, as far as I know. To answer your...

                Not appreciating the implied tone of me having some nefarious plans in visiting the site.

                Not at all, I'm so sorry. You asked for more info, I wanted to know what to provide more info on.

                There's no link to the site right now because it's down, as far as I know. To answer your questions:

                Mastodon is, basically, self-hosted, federated Twitter. It also has a lot of built-in safety features, like content warnings (basically, spoiler tags for posts) and multiple post privacy levels.

                I don't know exactly what they've done internally, but they've removed all acknowledgement of the free software nature of the platform, and their test setup was entirely unable to federate - which is pretty much the whole point of Mastodon. If what you want is "Twitter in a box", there are actually better solutions. So, no surprise, whoever Trump paid to set this up is pretty incompetent.

                I wasn't asking you to justify, I promise - I just literally didn't know what you wanted more info about. Could've been the AGPL, the nature of the violation, how the process of suing them might work, who might do that... lots of things.

                7 votes
  3. [2]
    Parliament
    Link
    Everything is always the polar opposite with Trump. Conservative voices are the most amplified takes on social media. Hopefully this social media company is staffed with lots of people who have...

    "For so long, Big Tech has suppressed conservative voices"

    Everything is always the polar opposite with Trump. Conservative voices are the most amplified takes on social media. Hopefully this social media company is staffed with lots of people who have the last name Trump so it will fail as spectacularly as his blog.

    20 votes
    1. pallas
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I have to wonder if both might have some truth to them, in a certain way. I would not be surprised if Trumpist "conservative voices" have aspects to them—spectacular misinformation, tangled chains...

      Everything is always the polar opposite with Trump. Conservative voices are the most amplified takes on social media

      I have to wonder if both might have some truth to them, in a certain way. I would not be surprised if Trumpist "conservative voices" have aspects to them—spectacular misinformation, tangled chains of alarming conspiracy theory posts to follow, interlinked references to other posts—that cause them to be heavily amplified by algorithms trying to optimize for user engagement, because those aspects act as addictive hooks that draw people into spending much more time on the sites. Then the companies involved, seeing the posts and the PR problems they cause, try to tweak their algorithms and policies to reduce the prominence or impact of the posts, because they see it as the algorithm making problematic decisions when faced with unusual parameters and inadvertently promoting horrible things beyond where any reasonable human content curator would put them.

      If that's the case, I think there might be the reasonable criticism that social media companies simply try to suppress the worst and most visible outcomes of their algorithms rather than admit that what they are optimizing for leads to these sorts of things.

      9 votes
  4. NaraVara
    (edited )
    Link
    This will be an interesting data point in deciding whether it's better to sequester bad behavior in its own corner or actively seek it out to deplatform it. The theory behind sequestering is that...

    This will be an interesting data point in deciding whether it's better to sequester bad behavior in its own corner or actively seek it out to deplatform it.

    The theory behind sequestering is that it leaves non-toxic people the option of being able to dip a toe in and see what nonsense the crazies are talking about. The occasional debunking or interruption of false narratives can maybe keep us all able to still communicate with each other instead of spinning us off into completely different universes. That's important for persuasion. It's also important to not be completely blind to any salient points the toxic group actually is able to hit on. Downside of deplatforming is you risk actually giving it more attention that it would have had otherwise. And it's hard to keep those animal spirits in line or well calibrated, so there really is no telling what sorts of stuff will get in their crosshairs. If it seems too poorly calibrated to hitting actually noxious people/ideas then it will actually build sympathy for the bad guys.

    But, at least with Reddit, the experiment kind of backfired. Those noxious subreddits basically turned into genetic algorithms for creating maximally viral and persuasive content that was impossible to keep a lid on. Eventually the whole site gets eaten up by the noxious behavior people learn in the toxic corners where they spend all their time.

    So what would a social network like 'Truth' be? Would the people in here find and pick up memes and other viral content they can then move out into Facebook or Twitter with? Or does it unburden the mainstream social media sites of this inanity by moving the crazies to a crazy corner and away from the eyes of impressionable "normies?"

    I think Reddit may have had a particular problem because of the single-account for all places and the way it curates content for /r/all. I suspect having a truly parallel site will do a better job of keeping the nuts in nutterspace. The best part, too, is that once the nutterspace gets its own subculture then we can clearly identify content originating from nutterspace the way we can easily identify stuff coming from Chan-sites and adjust our expectations about whether to take this seriously or take this as something to make fun of accordingly.

    11 votes
  5. [5]
    scrambo
    Link
    I'm pretty new to the "idea of" Mastodon, but isn't a large portion of the benefit of using Mastodon is that it's federated? Why wouldn't they spin up their own instance instead of forking the...

    I'm pretty new to the "idea of" Mastodon, but isn't a large portion of the benefit of using Mastodon is that it's federated? Why wouldn't they spin up their own instance instead of forking the code base? That could have entirely sidestepped the license issues. Do you need to fork to change the branding? Side note, do you think other servers can still federate to this one? I'm curious if that functionality was removed or changed at all. I can't imagine that team putting in the effort required to make deep changes to the core

    Also, naming the site "Truth" is just so on brand for these jokers. I expect to see a slogan for it saying something along the lines of "You know it's the truth, because only we know the real truth."

    10 votes
    1. mtset
      Link Parent
      Yeah, if you want to configure the code to the level they've done you need to. They can, but many have already blocklisted the domain.

      Why wouldn't they spin up their own instance instead of forking the code base? That could have entirely sidestepped the license issues. Do you need to fork to change the branding?

      Yeah, if you want to configure the code to the level they've done you need to.

      Side note, do you think other servers can still federate to this one?

      They can, but many have already blocklisted the domain.

      10 votes
    2. TemulentTeatotaler
      Link Parent
      Pravda was taken?

      Also, naming the site "Truth" is just so on brand

      Pravda was taken?

      10 votes
    3. [2]
      guts
      Link Parent
      It was before Gab was blocked even at software level: https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/12/20691957/mastodon-decentralized-social-network-gab-migration-fediverse-app-blocking

      I'm pretty new to the "idea of" Mastodon, but isn't a large portion of the benefit of using Mastodon is that it's federated? Why wouldn't they spin up their own instance instead of forking the code base?

      It was before Gab was blocked even at software level:

      https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/12/20691957/mastodon-decentralized-social-network-gab-migration-fediverse-app-blocking

      1 vote
      1. mtset
        Link Parent
        That's... Not really how that works. Individual client app makers blocked Gab; Mastodon instances are still free to federate as they like, and since most clients are free software, you can just...

        That's... Not really how that works. Individual client app makers blocked Gab; Mastodon instances are still free to federate as they like, and since most clients are free software, you can just change the software yourself. It's just that the folks who make and publish the apps like making things harder for neo-Nazis.

        7 votes
  6. cfabbro
    Link
    Trump’s social network has 30 days to stop breaking the rules of its software license

    Trump’s social network has 30 days to stop breaking the rules of its software license

    The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) says former President Donald Trump’s new social network violated a free and open-source software licensing agreement by ripping off decentralized social network Mastodon. The Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG) has 30 days to comply with the terms of the license before its access is terminated — forcing it to rebuild the platform or face legal action.

    TMTG launched a special purpose acquisition company fundraising effort yesterday with promises to build a sweeping media empire. Its only product so far is a social network called Truth Social that appears strongly to be forked from Mastodon. While anyone can freely reuse Mastodon’s code (and groups like right-wing social network Gab have already done so), they still have to comply with the Affero General Public License (or AGPLv3) that governs that code, and its conditions include offering their own source code to all users.

    Truth Social doesn’t comply with that license and, in fact, refers to its service as “proprietary.” Its developers apparently attempted to scrub references that would make the Mastodon connection clear — at one point listing a “sighting” of the Mastodon logo as a bug — but included direct references to Mastodon in the site’s underlying HTML alongside obvious visual similarities.

    If Truth Social fails to make the source code available, the SFC could sue it for violating the terms of the license it used. Earlier this year, the group sued electronics maker Vizio for “repeated failures to fulfill even the basic requirements” of free software licensing. “We will be following this issue very closely and demanding that Trump’s Group give the corresponding source to all who use the site,” Kuhn writes.

    Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko also said yesterday that he intended to seek legal counsel about the situation, although he didn’t discuss a specific course of action. “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 told Talking Points Memo.

    10 votes
  7. [3]
    trobertson
    Link
    Trump's re-election campaign just scored huge points (and votes) among their base with this move. Scenario 1 - this gets shut down due to being a non-compliant fork of an AGPL project Courts...

    Trump's re-election campaign just scored huge points (and votes) among their base with this move.

    Scenario 1 - this gets shut down due to being a non-compliant fork of an AGPL project

    Courts aren't instant, so this shutdown is not going to immediately occur. It will, in all likelihood, occur near to the election and provide fuel to the "they're suppressing us!" argument. Nevermind that the argument is bullshit and that that the shutdown will have nothing to do with politics, the spin here is easy and will be exploited.

    Scenario 2 - this doesn't get shutdown, and Trumpers get a "safe space" to be deluded and horrible

    This will let Trumpers continuously try to narcissisticly one-up each other in an attempt to be the most rabid Trump supporter. These popularity contests will grow the extremism of everyone there.

    Basically, Trump benefits from this no matter how things shake out.

    5 votes
    1. vegai
      Link Parent
      Eh. Seems to me like Trump's social media success was due to him being active on places where normal people are. Like Twitter and Facebook. TRUTH is not where normal people will be.

      Scenario 2 - this doesn't get shutdown, and Trumpers get a "safe space" to be deluded and horrible

      Eh. Seems to me like Trump's social media success was due to him being active on places where normal people are. Like Twitter and Facebook. TRUTH is not where normal people will be.

      11 votes
    2. Akir
      Link Parent
      How realistic is Scenario 1, really? I sincerely doubt that the people around Trump would rather shut down the site instead of just making the efforts to make it compliant with the license.

      How realistic is Scenario 1, really? I sincerely doubt that the people around Trump would rather shut down the site instead of just making the efforts to make it compliant with the license.

      2 votes
  8. skybrian
    (edited )
    Link
    Matt Levine had fun writing about the funding: […] […] […] Edit: this was already discussed elsewhere.

    Matt Levine had fun writing about the funding:

    When Twitter Inc. went public it had never been profitable and it was, you know, a real social network that people used. Maybe Twitter But Trump would immediately be profitable but boy I have some doubts.

    On the other hand if Donald Trump launched a company that was like “I am going to start a social media platform for Trump fans,” could he get people to buy the stock? I think that two fundamental lessons of the last few years are:

    • You can get people to buy any stock; and
    • Donald Trump can get people to buy anything.

    […]

    Why would you think Trump Thing, a company with no product and no revenue, is worth $1.7 billion? Are you looking at the wildly optimistic projections of future revenue in the investor presentation? No you certainly are not! The initial SEC filing doesn’t include an investor presentation, but there is a “Company Overview” deck on Trump Thing’s website, and, fun fact, there is not a single dollar sign in the whole deck. There is no financial analysis, no sources and uses of funds for the deal, no capital structure, and certainly no projections of future revenue.

    […]

    But I think that a more realistic valuation method here is not to worry about cash flows at all — as Trump SPAC clearly does not — and treat the stock simply as a token of public interest in Donald Trump. My guess is that the price of Trump SPAC stock will not, for instance, be much affected by its earnings announcements, unless Trump himself does the earnings calls in which case it will go up no matter what he says. My guess is that the stock will not be particularly correlated with the stocks of other media or technology companies. My guess is that the stock will go up when Trump is on television, or if he announces that he’s running for president again. My guess is that if something bad happens to Trump — if he’s sued or arrested or banned by a new tech company or some new scandal comes out — then that will also make the stock go up, to own the libs or whatever. My guess is that each day that goes by without Trump news, the stock will go down a bit. My guess is that the stock is essentially a bet on Trump’s personal newsiness, on Trump-news volatility.

    […]

    Oh, also. One other thing that I like to say around here is that “everything is securities fraud”: Every bad thing that a public company, or a public-company executive, does can be recast as securities fraud and lead to securities lawsuits. There will be like 200 securities-fraud lawsuits against Donald Trump by Christmas, enjoy!

    Edit: this was already discussed elsewhere.

    3 votes
  9. [4]
    tomf
    Link
    it didn’t take long for it to be hacked, either.

    it didn’t take long for it to be hacked, either.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      rkcr
      Link Parent
      That is a generous use of the word "hacked."

      That is a generous use of the word "hacked."

      16 votes
      1. nothis
        Link Parent
        Yea, someone just tried registering and it worked, lol. Still a hint at their general level of expertise. I guess few people who are actually experts on this want the Trump platform on their resume.

        Yea, someone just tried registering and it worked, lol. Still a hint at their general level of expertise.

        I guess few people who are actually experts on this want the Trump platform on their resume.

        4 votes
      2. tomf
        Link Parent
        oh lame. I didn't want to link to this gross pic -- but it also turned out to be a fake account :)

        oh lame. I didn't want to link to this gross pic -- but it also turned out to be a fake account :)

        2 votes
  10. NomadicCoder
    Link
    Yeah, we'll see about that.

    In a slide deck on its website, the company envisions eventually competing against Amazon.com's AWS cloud service and Google Cloud.

    Yeah, we'll see about that.

    11 votes
  11. streblo
    Link
    How very Orwellian and so on brand.

    How very Orwellian and so on brand.