Threads Previews Fediverse Capabilities

Meta's Threads is inching closer to compatibility with the fediverse -- an interconnected social platform ecosystem based on an open protocol called ActivityPub.

A video uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday shows Instagram engineer Peter Cottle giving a presentation on how the decentralized X competitor app will be able to opt-in to fediverse sharing and what that might look like for users.

Over the past year, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that making Threads interoperable, “will give people more choice over how they interact and it will help content reach more people,” adding that the company is “committed to building support for Activity Pub, a decentralized hub of interoperable social-media platforms.

By December, Meta had already made it possible for Threads users to verify their profile on Mastodon, a popular decentralized microblogging app running on ActivityPub, and was testing the option to make Threads posts accessible on Mastodon as well.



Now, it is moving ahead by sharing a preview of how ActivityPub integration will actually work, and how it will affect the user experience via a new account setting called “fediverse sharing.”

Once integrated, Meta will add a menu to Threads that solidifies earlier tests of allowing users to make their Threads posts viewable from Maston and other platforms built on ActivityPub, including Pixelfed, PeerTube, Lemmy and more.

To educate its audience on their actions, Threads is implementing hefty disclaimers explaining what interoperability will mean for the content they post.

Helping 130 million Threads users understand what the fediverse is may be a sizable undertaking, as Cottle says, “we have to both explain the fediverse and explain all the disclaimers and then make sure they feel good about the outcome.”

Cottle points to several things, like Meta’s current inability to guarantee that posts get deleted from connected platforms when a user deletes it on Threads. Users will actually have five minutes to edit or delete a new post before it blasts out to the fediverse.

When users turn on fediverse sharing, a small symbol will appear in their Threads bio, which as Cottle says, “it will become kind of an advertisement for who has sharing turned on.” However, only public-facing accounts will have the ability to share content to the fediverse.

Cottle shared his presentation at FediForum, an online event that gives developers space and time to share what they are working on in the fediverse, adding a layer of transparency to Meta's ongoing efforts.

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