The discourse surrounding the upcoming introduction of Threads, a Meta owned property that will serve as an attempt to replace Twitter, has been largely inescapable to anyone with a regular presence on the fediverse because of it integrating ActivityPub (AP). For those less technically informed, AP is the underlying technology that fediverse software (the most common being Mastodon) uses to communicate (federate) with other servers on the network.
The long storied history of Meta, and the fine grain details of what their presence will result in has led to a bifurcation amongst server administrators as to whether or not they should choose to block communication (defederate) from Threads. The beautiful thing about the fediverse is that differing opinions can exist simultaneously, and in the same vein users are free to choose a server operator that aligns with their morals, and stance on issues like this one.
Since I am the one ultimately responsible for the community of people who have chosen tooters.org as their home on the fediverse I wanted to formally announce how I will be handling this particular matter. There are two parts to this; whether I will opt-in to federating with Threads, and what my response will be to other instances that do.
The first part is simple, and has already been answered previously after asking for your input, but it’s likely that it was missed by many of you. No, Tooters will not become federated with Threads, nor any other potential future Meta properties. My decision to launch a fediverse server in the first place was due to nearly twenty years of being disgusted by the business practices of large social media companies. They have proven already that user privacy, moderating to protect, and data portability are antithetical to their goal of growing a publicly traded company to satisfy shareholders at all costs.
The second part, whether to defederate from other servers that choose to connect with Threads, is a more nuanced conversation. I can see valid arguments on both sides of the issue, but what tips the scales for me is an underlying desire not to unnecessarily break any existing community connections that people on Tooters have with users on other servers. This is a wait and see approach, and not a hard line. If it leads to an unmanageable amount of moderation reports, an extremely large increase in the server capacity (and thus operating costs) required, or anything else which makes keeping community members of Tooters safe then this current decision will be revisited.
This all works best when transparency between myself, and all of you is placed before all else. I strongly welcome any feedback. As I have said in the past, this safe space we’ve built together only remains that way because community members have proven it is just as important to them as it is to me. I am extremely grateful for that. You matter, and your feelings matter. So never hesitate to share them with me.