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Thoughts on ActivityPub, Mastodon, etc.

(disclaimer: I'm new at this stuff and do not have full understanding of the AcitvityPub spec so please correct me if you think I got things wrong)

Is the demise of Twitter going to spark a resurgence of the "open web" and is that a good thing?

Context: There is a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommendation (a "standard" in the making) for a social networking service and it is called ActivityPub. If a website implements ActivityPub then it can interact with other websites that also implement ActivityPub. Some are saying 🤣 that ActivityPub based services could be a replacement for Twitter.

What that means is that your social network feed can include people who are on other social networks. For example, if you have an account on a social network that uses ActivityPub, you can follow people who are on any social network that also uses ActivityPub. In the future, from your Instagram account you might be able to follow people on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, TikTok, etc. and have them all appear in your feed at Instagram. That all depends on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, TikTok and Instagram adding support for ActivityPub, which may or may not happen.

ActivityPub makes social networking more like email. If you have an email account you can send email to anybody regardless of what email service they use. Gmail users can send email to AOL users can send email to Apple iCloud email addresses, etc.

There are already dozens of services that implement ActivityPub and most of them use the Mastodon software. You can find me on Mastodon here: https://mastodon.social/@snoopdave

This all sounds great, but what motivates people, organizations and companies to pay for running ActivityPub servers and how are those entities going to do content moderation on their servers? Will creators be able to get the reach they need to monetize? Will ActivityPub be another enabler of hate speech and dangerous misinformation or is it the foundation on which people can build systems that fight against those things?

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