Threads takes first steps into the fediverse

Users in the US, Canada and Japan can now share their Threads posts to various ‘ActivityPub-compliant servers’, as Meta promotes a more decentralised approach.

Threads, the text-focused app connected to Instagram, has finally made a move into the fediverse in a beta test.

The app was first advertised as a decentralised platform back when it was in development at the start of 2023. But this push to the fediverse – various decentralised social platforms – took a back seat as Meta focused on bringing in new features to retain a slumping user base.

Now, Meta has confirmed that users in certain countries can share their Threads posts to other “ActivityPub-compliant servers” and expand to new audiences. This beta option is currently available for users in the US, Canada and Japan.

“One way to think about the fediverse is to compare it to email,” Meta said in a blogpost. “You can send an email from a Gmail account to a Yahoo account, for example, because those services support the same protocols.

“Similarly, in the fediverse you can connect with people who use different social networking services that are built on the same protocol, removing the silos that confine people and their followers to any single platform.”

Meta said that Threads was built on an open social networking protocol to give people “more freedom and choice in the online communities they inhabit”, as each server can set its own standards and content moderation policies.

“We believe this decentralised approach, similar to the protocols governing email and the web itself, will play an important role in the future of online platforms,” Meta said.

Other social media sites in the decentralised social media space have been gaining popularity in recent years, such as Mastodon and more recently Bluesky, which is working on letting its users run their own moderation services.

But while there are benefits to decentralised platforms, some experts have warned about risks regarding these spaces. Last year, ISD Global’s Ciarán O’Connor spoke about how decentralised platforms can be used to store and spread extremist content, along with the difficulties presented in tackling this content.

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