Last Week in Fediverse – ep 75Threads expands their

Last Week in Fediverse – ep 75

Threads expands their fediverse connections, a place for musicians on the fediverse with Bandwagon, and more.

The news

Threads has expanded their fediverse connection, meaning that people on Threads will now see likes and replies made from other fediverse platforms. It is only limited to replies and likes on posts made on Threads, and not yet full federation. Threads has also expanded the number of countries that can turn on fediverse sharing: originally it was limited to the US, Canada and Japan, and now over 100 countries have the option. European countries are notably missing from the list, and Meta has not officially commented on how the list is determined and why some countries are not included yet.

As part of expanding their fediverse connections, Threads had to implement quite a few new systems, as a Threads engineer explains here. One of the things that Threads implemented is making their block list publicly visible, together with an appeal form. Threads still has some issues to work out with their systems, as appeared on the list for a short while as well, even though it was not actually blocked in practice, and it seemed to be an error. Threads’ block list does leave with some questions, as their description of ‘Violated our Community Guidelines or Terms of Use’ leave some servers with unclear answers as to why they got blocked by Threads. The fediverse, especially larger servers, could learn from Threads by also providing a way to appeal blocking decisions, while Threads could definitely improve by being clearer as to why exactly they block servers. The list of servers that Threads moderates also provides an interesting comparison for other provides of block lists.

Bandwagon is a new app for musicians on the fediverse. It is built on top of Emissary, a new standalone fediverse server platform. Emissary allows a new type of apps to be developed on top of the platform, and Bandwagon is the first example of what is possible. Magicians can create their own pages for their band, their albums, and tours, and you can stream audio via Bandwagon as well. Bandwagon is now open for registration for early testers.

The Dot Social podcast interviewed Ghost CEO John O’Nolan on building a publishing platform on the fediverse. The excitement that Flipboard’s CEO Mike McCue and Nolan have for federating long-form content over ActivityPub shows a few different things to me: there is a clear potential for the fediverse to shift more towards long-form writing, and I think ActivityPub is actually more suited to this than it is for microblogging. Long-form writing that is embedded in a feed-like format has long been possible on the fediverse, as software like Hubzilla and Friendica have shown, but the dominance of Mastodon and how it shaped the thinking of what the fediverse can do make it so that it takes time for that realisation to settle in. Newer fediverse implementations are now leading the way in making this happen, as NodeBB, Discourse, WordPress and more are actively working towards compatibility, and actively courting Ghost and Flipboard for this collaborative effort as well.

A new Fediverse Enhancement Proposal with a roadmap for Actor and Object Portability. While I don’t cover every proposal, this one sticks out to me, mainly for the part of the ‘bring-your-own Actor ID’. In the current way fediverse server software works is that your identity (@username@servername.tld) is directly connected to the server itself. This is in contrast with the other open protocols (atproto, Nostr and Farcaster) who all separate the user’s identity from the actual operations of the network in some form. I agree with Erlend Sogge Heggen here, who says that “[bring-your-own Actor ID] really all I ever needed from the notion of a ‘single-user instance’. All I want to manage on my own is my identity; I don’t want to take on the full burden of managing a whole AP server.”

In other news

Newsmast’s Michael Foster writes about how they are building fediverse channels. There are a lot of ideas in the article, and there is clear inspiration of Farcaster’s channels. Farcaster’s channels are basically a more powerful version of Bluesky’s custom feeds, and I hope to be able to write about it more soon. The wider ecosystem of four different protocols building and competing with each other leads to interesting cross-pollination of ideas that I hope to see more of.

TechCrunch has an article called ‘Welcome to the fediverse: Your guide to Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky and more’. I already wrote last week about how the meaning of the term ‘fediverse’ is expanding, and here is another clear example of how the term fediverse is starting to encompass more than just the ActivityPub protocol.

PixelFed has a new app for Android and iOS, that is open source and AGPL license, and available for Android beta testers and on iOS Testflight.

Canvas, the fediverse event where people can place a pixel on a large shared canvas (similar to /r/place) will be held again from Friday July 12th to Monday July 15th.

The Links

  • Hollo, the new single-user microblogging app now is available to easily deploy for yourself.
  • A monthly update on the work that has been done on Bridgy Fed, the bridge that connects the fediverse with Bluesky, with lots of new features and improvements in the background.
  • The first beta for IceShrimps complete rewrite into .NET is available.
  • A short update on the Event Federation project.
  • Owncast’s monthly newsletter.
  • PieFed monthly development update.
  • An outline for building Habitat, a decentralised social network based on your current location.
  • Mastodon CTO Renaud Chaput confirms that reply controls will not be coming in the near future to Mastodon due to a lack of resources.
  • A Mastodon domain block exporter script.
  • Dave Weiner advocates for a one-click fediverse subscription button.
  • A weekly overview of the fediverse software updates.

That’s all for this week, thanks for reading!