Meta previews ‘fediverse sharing’ for Threads

The meta continues its slow march towards compatibility with the fediverse. The company is experimenting with generating posts from a handful of accounts since the end of last year. Now, here’s a quick look at how the integration works and what it might look like for people to once again be able to share directly from Threads to fediverse.

Instagram engineer Peter Cottle gave a short presentation on Threads in the Fediverse , a virtual event for decentralized social media enthusiasts. In the demo, Cottle explains how Threads users can join the fediverse community and offers some insight into how Meta thinks about its role in fediverse.

In a short video demo, first by The Verge, Cottle demonstrates a new account setting called “fediverse sharing”. As the name suggests, the menu will allow users to view their posts from Mastodon and other platforms that use ActivityPub. It should be noted that this comes with lengthy disclaimers explaining exactly what it means for their content.

“I think it’s kind of a challenge for Threads because we have about 130 million people using it every month, but a lot of people haven’t heard of fediverse,” Cottle said. “But we want to give them an opportunity to have that kind of experience. So we have to both explain to the fediverse and explain all the waivers and then make sure they feel good about the outcome.

Visually, the fediverse will be represented in Threads by an icon that looks a bit like a planet (the symbol previously in the code in the program). Cottle explained that users who enable fediverse sharing will have a visible icon on their profile and will see an icon in the app’s composer if a post appears on fediverse. Cottle also confirmed that only public-facing accounts will have the ability to share to fediverse. He also noted that users will have a 5-minute window before posts go live to make any changes or edits, as Threads cannot guarantee that a deleted Threads post will also be removed from fediverse.

The demo comes as Meta begins adding a few more accounts to its fediverse sharing experience. Currently, Mastodon users can follow the leader on Instagram and several other Threads users, but the company hasn’t provided an update on when the feature will roll out more widely. Cottle’s demo also didn’t explore how sharing to Threads from Mastoodn and other ActivityPub-enabled services might work. (Currently, if a Mastodon user is replying to a Threads post, here is the reply Not in threads, but in Mastodon.)

But Cottle’s showing is another sign that the Meta is gaining momentum serious. “I know there’s a ton of skepticism about threads going into fediverse, which is completely understandable,” Cottle said. “But I’d like to think that everyone in the team has really good intentions. We really want to be a good member of the community and give people the opportunity to experience what fediverse is and the power of the protocol.”

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