Mastodon CEO Eugen Rochko sounds celebratory in his post on the company blog about the new Threads service from Meta. Rochko is pleased that Meta has chosen to implement the ActivityPub protocol in Threads, which will allow users from the new Meta offering to interact with those on Mastodon and my favorite service, Micro.blog.
We have been advocating for interoperability between platforms for years. The biggest hurdle to users switching platforms when those platforms become exploitative is the lock-in of the social graph, the fact that switching platforms means abandoning everyone you know and who knows you. The fact that large platforms are adopting ActivityPub is not only validation of the movement towards decentralized social media, but a path forward for people locked into these platforms to switch to better providers. Which in turn, puts pressure on such platforms to provide better, less exploitative services. This is a clear victory for our cause, hopefully one of many to come.
Avoiding lock-in is one of the reasons Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri gives for the integration with ActivityPub.
“If you’re wondering why this matters, here’s a reason: you may one day end up leaving Threads, or, hopefully not, end up de-platformed. If that ever happens, you should be able to take your audience with you to another server. Being open can enable that.”
Of course, he’s right, but it’s still hard to swallow this sort of statement when it comes from a Meta executive. If it actually comes together the way it’s being advertised, though, this will feel like sort of a dream realized.
All Threads has to do is kill Twitter. That’s all it’s FOR. And it’ll work. Then all the ads and all the normal people can be in one place… and that place will be connected to the good internet by protocol, so we can participate without actually being inside of the mall. How is this real life?
It would be nice to be able to share my blogging with less technical users who are on mainstream social media. I never really appreciated how useful this was when Twitter was functional and their API more open. I’ve long advertised my adherence to the POSSE (Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere) model on my blog. I had been thinking about taking the reference down, though, because I was running out of decent places to which I could syndicate. With a new player in town, I have high hopes.