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What Is ActivityPub? Understanding the Social-Media Protocol Meta’s Threads Plans to Use

Meta’s recent launch of Threads has sparked renewed interest in ActivityPub, the social media protocol that enables seamless interaction between different platforms, including the Twitter-like Mastodon. ActivityPub is a decentralized protocol that promises to give users greater control over their data and content, allowing them to move freely between services without losing their audience or content. This protocol is crucial for Meta’s vision of a more open and interconnected social media landscape, where users can interact with each other across different platforms.

What is ActivityPub?

ActivityPub is a standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the organization responsible for the fundamental technologies that underpin the internet. This protocol does two primary things: it allows different services to communicate with each other, and it enables users to take their data with them from one service to another. This means that users can control their data, content, and audience, allowing them to move their information to any new social media platform that supports ActivityPub.

How Does ActivityPub Work?

ActivityPub is designed to facilitate the exchange of data between different social media platforms. When a user posts content on a platform that supports ActivityPub, that content can be automatically shared and viewed on other platforms that also support the protocol. This eliminates the need for users to manually re-upload their content to each platform, making it easier for them to share their ideas and connect with others across different platforms.

The Fediverse: A Network of Interconnected Social Media Platforms

The fediverse is a network of social media platforms that are interconnected through ActivityPub. Each platform in the fediverse is independent, but they can share posts, users, and information with each other. This allows users to interact with each other across different platforms, creating a more open and interconnected social media landscape.

What is the Fediverse?

The term “fediverse” is a portmanteau of “federated” and “universe.” It refers to the universe of server-to-server social networks, which are described as a federated system. In this system, each server is independent but can share posts, users, and information with other servers. This allows users to interact with each other across different platforms, creating a more open and interconnected social media landscape.

Benefits of ActivityPub and the Fediverse

ActivityPub and the fediverse offer several benefits to users and creators. For one, they allow users to take their data with them from one platform to another, giving them greater control over their online presence. This also allows creators to own their audience and content, rather than being tied to a specific platform. Additionally, ActivityPub and the fediverse enable the sharing of content across different platforms, making it easier for users to discover and engage with new ideas and perspectives.

Will Supporting ActivityPub Make Threads Decentralized?

While ActivityPub is a decentralized protocol, Threads itself is an app created and controlled by Meta. This means that even though Threads supports ActivityPub, it is still a centralized platform that can gather data about its users. This raises questions about the extent to which Threads is truly decentralized, even with the support of ActivityPub.

The Future of Social Media: A More Open and Interconnected Landscape

The launch of Threads and the support of ActivityPub mark a significant shift in the social media landscape. As more platforms adopt ActivityPub and the fediverse, users will have greater control over their data and content and will be able to interact with each other across different platforms. This could lead to a more open and interconnected social media landscape, where users are free to move between platforms without losing their audience or content.

Conclusion

ActivityPub is a decentralized protocol that enables seamless interaction between different social media platforms. It allows users to take their data with them from one platform to another, giving them greater control over their online presence. The fediverse is a network of interconnected social media platforms that support ActivityPub, allowing users to interact with each other across different platforms. While the launch of Threads and the support of ActivityPub mark a significant shift in the social media landscape, it remains to be seen how decentralized these platforms truly are, given the control that Meta still exerts over them.