The realpolitik of interoperability

January 31, 2024

This report by Tom Coates on a December 2023 meeting between members of the “Fediverse” community and members of the team provides some more insight into Meta’s plans for introducing interoperability with Mastodon and other Fediverse applications. While the post makes it clear that full Mastodon x Threads interoperability is at least a year away, it is also interesting for its assessment of Meta’s motivations for investing in interoperability:

My sense after this meeting was that Facebook are seriously interested in integrating Threads with the Fediverse. They do not want to crush the Fediverse. They perhaps think the future is a few large companies maintaining clients in a shared social space, where there’s also a long tail of other independent clients. This is going to weird out a bunch of people but it’s a goal I also share, so I’m okay with that. It’s worth saying that I want this world because I think it is a realpolitik alternative to one large company owning everything. I think a multi-client/company/instanced system like this would be better than now and solve a bunch of problems. But is it the utopian vision of how the world could be if we didn’t live in quite such an extractive system? Nope.

This assessment is pretty much in line with our current thinking, which sees interoperability between commercial social media platforms and services rooted in the Digital Public Space as a positive development that will ultimately strengthen the open web.

P.S. In Personal blogs are where tech news happens, Anil Dash makes the interesting observation that Tom Coates’ report is in itself a sign of the Renaissance of the Open Web he predicts.

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