Meta Infected Fediverse
In last few months, people have been looking for alternatives to move out of the Twitter. There were some existing options, Mastodon being the prominent one. Fast forward to BluSky - another text based app cenceptualized by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey based on open-source, in-house built federated protocol AT Protocol.
Following the hype, Meta stepped in & today on 6th July they unspooled Threads in 100 countries. Making the onboarding experience slim easy, as the app is tied to Instagram, Meta managed to get 10 million sign-ups in less the 10 hours after launch, majority of which were existing Insta users.
So far so good! or is it…?
Okay Threads isn’t launching in EU do you know why? For what Meta is known for — invasive & excessive data collection & user privacy violation. Click details on this page to get a glimpse of the extent of sensitive data collection by Threads.
Threads uses the same ActivityPub protocol that Mastodon uses, implying it could participate in the Fedivers, enabling users to follow each other across networks. For e.g users on Threads will be able to follow users on Mastodon & converse. That sounds convenient, but there is a catch.
Mastodon has been a giant example & advocate of the federation & decentralized social media platform architecture with null business motives. It is totally community driven with no shady practices going on behind the scenes. Even if the offical instance pivot their stance, users can branch out & simply shift to another server or self host one.
But with Meta stepping into Fediverse it poses a lot of dangers to the users of platforms which are also based on ActivityPub protocol. I call it “Meta Infected Fedi”. For some people Meta adapting a decentralized protocol means win for open-source & decentralized architecture. Well there is a saying
“All that glitters is not gold”
The Ugly Face
Although it is not available yet, however once Threads will be able to participate in fediverse what will stop Meta from tracking, building profiles & data points on the users of other platforms? The Mastodon public feed for example, channelized to Threads can be easily taken advantage of by the Meta, thus invading the privacy of those instances’ users as well.
The data of Mastodon users will be mined for targeted advertisement, training LLM models, learning their likes & dislikes for manipulative tactics, introducing dark patterns, selling the demographic profiles to third parties, goverments & so on. If you don’t know yet, Meta already made it difficult for users to opt out of Threads.
The only way to curb Meta infection would be that the instance admins will have to block the federation with Threads specifically but time will tell how many Mastodon instances will follow the trend. Regardless, the moment will be a chaotic for sure.
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