Social network Bluesky, a competitor to X, Threads, Mastodon, and others, is opening up its doors with today’s news that the network is now opening up federation, following its public launch earlier this month.
The move will allow anyone to run their own server that connects to Bluesky’s network, so they can host their own data, their own account and make their own rules.
That sent some former Twitter users in search of alternatives that were more sustainable, like Mastodon and Bluesky.
While this model is similar to Mastodon, Bluesky uses a newer social networking protocol, the AT Protocol, while Mastodon and many other networks today use ActivityPub.
“After this initial phase, we’ll open up federation to people looking to run larger servers with many users,” it says.
Over the weekend, hackers targeted federated social networks like Mastodon to carry out ongoing spam attacks that were organized on Discord, and conducted using Discord applications.
But Discord has yet to remove the server where the attacks are facilitated, and Mastodon community leaders have been unable to reach anyone at the company.
She told TechCrunch that while Discord has mechanisms for reporting individual users or messages, it lacks a clear way to report whole servers.
And as Smith notes, these mass spam attacks can drive up server costs, leaving admins with unexpected bills.
According to reports on Mastodon, this fully-automated attack was sparked by a conflict between teenagers on two different Japanese language Discord servers.
A spam attack that impacted the open source X rival Mastodon, Misskey, and other apps highlights how the decentralized social web, also known as the Fediverse, is open to abuse.
Over the past several days, attackers have targeted smaller Mastodon servers, taking advantage of open registrations to automate the creation of spam accounts.
While this is not the first spam attack that has impacted the Fediverse, Rochko notes that only larger servers like Mastodon.social had been targeted previously.
The spam attack highlighted one of the weaknesses that comes with how the Fediverse is structured.
It makes me want to walk away and give up,” wrote one Mastodon server admin email@example.com.
Threads’ roadmap for integrations with the fediverse, aka the network of decentralized apps that includes Twitter/X rival Mastodon and others, has been revealed.
In the meeting, which Coates characterized as a “good faith” effort by the Instagram team, the roadmap for Threads’ fediverse integration was laid out, starting with a December launch of a feature within the Threads app that would allow their posts to become visible to Mastodon clients.
Meta did, in fact, start testing ActivityPub integration in December, allowing Threads posts to appear on Mastodon.
In addition, this rule would potentially come into play when a user banned from Meta’s platform moved their content to another Mastodon server.
Other questions remained unresolved at this time — like whether Threads would surface third-party Mastodon content in its algorithmic feed, whether it would ultimately allow for algorithmic choice, whether Mastodon content would be made to appear visually differentiated from Threads’ content in some way, and more.
Today, the social magazine app Flipboard is announcing it has also now integrated with ActityPub.
That changed this year, when Flipboard shifted its Twitter integration over to Mastodon and another alternative social app, Bluesky.
All this was in the lead-up to making Flipboard itself a federated social app, a process that’s kicking off today.
As this rolls out, all Flipboard users will have one Flipboard.com account connected to the fediverse, even if they host numerous Flipboard magazines.
Today, Flipboard has over 10,000 publishers of social magazines on its app and over a quarter million individuals who are curating content using Flipboard’s app.
More importantly for Mastodon, Meta committed to integrating Threads with ActivityPub, meaning users would be able to find and follow both Mastodon and Threads users across both services.
While many expected that integration wouldn’t arrive until early 2024, Meta surprised everyone by announcing yesterday that it would begin testing ActivityPub integration.
I’m pretty optimistic about this,” said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a post on Threads.
Threads users’ profiles on Mastodon weren’t backfilled with their older posts before the integration went live.
With Threads’ integration into Mastodon’s ecosystem, users will have more choice in how they want to engage with Threads users and content, including by accessing those accounts from an app of their choosing.
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