Let’s start a social media site!

It’s easy, right? You could write it in BASIC and run it off the old Apple II in your closet. You just accept a text string from someone calling in, and you post it on a web page, and presto! Fame and money start rolling in.

Even Donald Trump could do it! Or think he could do it, because that man is delusional.

The rollout of Donald Trump’s social network has predictably been a disaster. Truth Social’s debut on Monday was marred by technical problems and a gigantic waiting list, while some people who actually were able to use the service complained of being “censored.”

Truth Social “has been almost entirely inaccessible in the first days of its grand debut because of technical glitches, a 13-hour outage and a 300,000-person waitlist,” The Washington Post wrote yesterday. Trump Media & Technology Group CEO Devin Nunes said on a Fox News show that Truth Social’s goal is to be “fully operational at least within the United States” by the end of March. The waiting list is now over 500,000.

I wonder how many of those half million are lookie-loos gawking at the train wreck, how many are reporters who figure they just have to report on this desperate ex-politician’s fantasy (they don’t, by the way), and how many are sincere followers of Trump AKA chucklefucks?

Of course he didn’t design this himself.

Truth Social was built using Mastodon open source software.

They just grabbed some existing software, plastered some graphics and revised some of the text messages, and called it good.

I have an account on Mastodon. I didn’t have to wait in line to get it, just found an instance that didn’t have the Donald on it, and started typing. Isn’t the point of Mastodon to have a decentralized distribution of servers, anyway?

Also, it’s a bit ironic to name the failing media site created by a politician known for constantly lying “truth”.


  1. says

    To be fair, using the Mastodon software was the smartest thing they did – it’s a reasonably robust and well-tested codebase.

    Compare Parler, who didn’t go for that SJW nonsense and rolled their own, to hilariously disastrous effect.

    It puzzles me, actually – there’s plenty of techfash who are in fact highly competent at the computer stuff. Where are they all?

    Trump Social is also using an old code drop of Mastodon with known security holes. Probably not the best idea.

    Note how Gab used the Mastodon code as well – and they still managed to screw up.

  2. says

    Yes, it was a good idea to use Mastodon. It just goes against the principles of that kind of software, so not surprising that they had to tweak it to conform to their authoritarian ideal, which contributed to their failure.

  3. Dunc says

    Also, it’s a bit ironic to name the failing media site created by a politician known for constantly lying “truth”.

    Правда was already taken.

  4. mordred says

    Mastodon… Used to have an account. Never did much with it, me and social media just doesn’t work.
    Still, maybe I should join “Truth” Social to have a front row seat for the crash-and-burn.

  5. René says

    I think the logo is telling. A big T for ‘truth’ but even more so for ‘Trump’. But you can also see it as a road sign. A greenish light under ‘definitely no turning left here!’ (It is also a lower-case r.) If this is intentional, one could call it clever, and so not Cheetolini’s.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    None of the social media platforms have the capacity to launch “black ice” into the brain of people you dislike, nor do they have the bandwith to launch the AI in ‘Neuromancer’.

  7. Gaebolga says

    … sincere followers of Trump AKA chucklefucks

    Personally, I prefer the term “treasonweasels.”

  8. raven says

    Let’s start a social media site!

    You have already done this.
    Freethoughtblogs is a social media website.

    It’s easy, right?

    Yes and no.
    I’ve already abandoned the new one, OnlySky.
    Their idea was good but the implementation was terrible.
    They put the bloggers as an afterthought and it is hard to find both the bloggers and what the new blogging posts are. You have to hunt for them without a map or central list.

    The comment program they chose is off the shelf and something with less functionality than DARPA/Usenet from the 1980s.
    The results speak for themselves. Comment traffic on OPs are down about 90%.

  9. JM says

    @1 David Gerard:

    there’s plenty of techfash who are in fact highly competent at the computer stuff. Where are they all?

    Trump has a history of not paying for services rendered. All of the competent ones probably demanded money up front to work on an experiment that is hard to see ever being profitable.

  10. robro says

    As a California resident, I can only say that I’m happy that Devin Nunes quit his lucrative position in Congress to go work for Chump and company. And it’s particularly satisfying that he’s managed to get their project off to such a great start. I wonder if he’s getting paid. (Actually, I don’t give a f**k if he’s getting paid. In fact, I hope Chump stiffs him.)

  11. davidc1 says

    @12 Yes,I am a bit disappointed in it,all the regular commentators do not seem to be there.
    I miss Modus.

  12. Ridana says

    I read somewhere that Mastodon is not too happy with the tweaks they made, since the user agreement says you have to report to Mastodon what you’re doing to their software, and naturally the T-balls didn’t. They’re “looking into that” but I suspect they won’t do anything about it and will just wait for it to fail under its own weight.

  13. blf says

    Ridana@16, Usually, open-source licensing prohibits any modifications from being kept secret (which is slightly different from being published but I won’t go into that distinction), albeit there are many open source licensing variants. In any case, according to Ye Pffft! off All Knowledge:

    Former US President Donald Trump’s social network, Truth Social, is based on Mastodon; however, it initially did not make its source code available, violating Mastodon’s AGPLv3 license. After [Mastodon’s founder] Eugen Rochko sent a formal letter to Truth Social’s chief legal officer, Truth Social published its source code on November 12, 2021.

    According to the embedded link about the license (my added emboldening):

    The GNU Affero General Public License is a modified version of the ordinary GNU GPL version 3. It has one added requirement: if you run a modified program on a server and let other users communicate with it there, your server must also allow them to download the source code corresponding to the modified version running there.

    The purpose of the GNU Affero GPL is to prevent a problem that affects developers of free programs that are often used on servers.

    Without investigating further, the emboldened synopsis indicates hair furor’s site had to publish the (modified) source since, e.g., using my browser on my local computer or phone, I can communicate with it.

  14. beholder says

    @16 Ridana

    the user agreement says you have to report to Mastodon what you’re doing to their software

    The GNU Affero license makes no such provision. You’re only required to distribute copies of the modified source code if you a.) distribute copies of the software or b.) with Affero: if your software communicates with users over a network. None of that involves telling Mastodon what you’re doing with their software.

    I apologize if I sound grumpy; I understand if you didn’t mean to start rumors, but these software licenses live and die on popular misconceptions.

  15. David Utidjian says

    Well… I tried to log in and sign up to get on thruth social an all I got was: 405 Not Allowed!
    So um yeah.