Note: not all information such as full conversations, archives, contact information, and additional supporting evidence are included here for brevity but may be available upon request.
Last edited 2nd January 2023.
Hello, I don't know who and how many people will see this so I should probably start off by introducing myself, I am the creator and lead developer of Revolt, an open-source AGPL licensed chat platform. I go online by the pseudonym @insert and I'm a full-time student studying Computer Science in London.
I started Revolt around 2019 when I was just 16 years old and have grown it to reach an audience I would have never imagined I would. Fast forward to today and we have several companies trying to take my and others' hard work without any repercussions (though we will only focus on Andrew Tate in this instance).
For those who don't know, The Real World (therealworld.ai) appears to be yet another online venture led by Andrew Tate, a notorious online figure. The service promises that you will become successful and you will become rich for the low price of 150$ then 50$ per month. From public sources, I've found out that they have at least 110k users registered on the platform currently.
They are using the Revolt software which is distributed under the AGPL. It's relatively easy to confirm that they are using modified versions of both revite (web app) and delta (API server) by simply inspecting their website, which means they've produced a derivative work that they are making available over the network but they provide no opportunity for users to receive the modified source code.
For context, I have also confirmed that the website is developed by an organisation called New Era Learning who seem to have also been involved with running Hustler's University 2 prior to this.
Attempt at Resolution
On the 23rd of November, I was made aware of their use of my software and I immediately began contacting people and prodding through their site, I ended up getting in contact with the COO of New Era learning and one of the managers at The Real World. The second conversation doesn't really matter since it just confirmed that I did not want to work with them in any capacity, but within the first conversation, I was outright told that they don't care to comply and that they'd rather offer me a $120k salary job.
Within this first conversation, they also threaten me with the prospect of ‘chasing up off-shore ghost companies’:
Intentional Malice / Weird Behaviour
Apart from the obvious things above, there have been a few smaller red flags which cropped up while I was looking into this.
- I discovered that these were the same people that messaged me back in October, one of the New Era Learning developers reached out to me regarding something, but I don't have the full context since most of the messages were deleted (I had it partially archived on our Kanban). It would appear to me as if they were trying to hide their association by deleting these.
- References to Revolt in various places (even in API requests, which end-users would never see) have been deliberately stripped.
- This one was ‘probably’ a coincidence, but the second person I spoke with had their Telegram account deleted mid-conversation.
This is a brief summary of everything that has occurred:
- 27th August 2022: Contacted by someone from New Era Learning about potentially sponsorship (not aware of their ties yet), messages were since deleted and I heard nothing going forwards.
- 23rd November 2022: Notified by someone in Revolt Lounge that The Real World is using Revolt for their platform, began investigating here.
- I sent our standard license compliance email to their support email, though after discussion with our team we were not entirely comfortable with offering them an opportunity to get a custom license from us in exchange for some fee.
- Established contact with a developer I spoke to prior in August, through which I got in contact with the COO of New Era Learning.
- 26th November 2022: Received reply from their support and contact details for one of the ‘General Managers', spoke with them reaching the same conclusion as with the last person I spoke with.
- At this point I also rescinded the possibility for them to get a custom license and refused any money / job they offered out of my own moral issues with their operation, potential legal implications of working with them, and my own team's concerns.
- 1st January 2023: They appear to have changed domains to jointherealworld.com
Revolt isn't huge and as such we don't have too many resources available to us to explore options going forwards, if you'd like to help us, please share to raise awareness of the situation and / or get in contact with us (the Revolt Lounge is the fastest way to talk to us).
Our team is still exploring alternative routes for recourse and I am continuing to get in contact with people who may be able to help.
Currently I am offering the following two options to The Real World:
- Comply with the license.
- Cease operation.