Flipboard is the newest service to support Mastodon as Twitter under Elon Musk becomes more unstable. The news browsing app, whose creator previously served on Twitter’s board of directors, is currently investing heavily in the Fediverse.
The business revealed that it would incorporate Mastodon into its photos program so that users could “flip” through their feeds much like they might do with Twitter timelines. To promote wider acceptance among its user base, Flipboard is also launching its own Mastodon instance.
The two changes, according to Flipboard CEO Mike McCue, are the “very beginning steps” of a larger strategy to adopt the decentralized social networking protocols made popular by Mastodon over the previous year. Flipboard could be built around ActivityPub, the free and open – source method that powers Mastodon and the other decentralized services that make up the “Fediverse,” rather than the “proprietary social graphs” of platforms like Twitter and Facebook, both of which have grown increasingly hostile to outside developers.
In an interview, McCue claims that as Flipboard adopts ActivityPub, “we’ll effectively allow anyone who is on Mastodon to follow a person on Flipboard, to follow a Flipboard publication, and vice versa.” “A common, online democratic graph is what ActivityPub enables.” This suggests that platforms like Tumblr that have committed to implementing ActivityPub, such as Flipboard, may someday be able to communicate with services like Mastodon and Flipboard.
With its former close ties to Twitter, Flipboard should take note of the change in particular. Between 2010 and 2012, McCue served on Twitter’s executive staff, and it has been said that Twitter briefly thought about acquiring the app. The current status of Twitter, however, is “very depressing for a lot of individuals who were advocates and players in the entire Twitter ecosystem,” according to McCue.
Furthermore, it’s uncertain how long Flipboard will be able to maintain any kind of functionality with the service given that Twitter is planning to end its free API. Since Musk took over the firm, McCue refers to Twitter as being in “complete pandemonium.” “I don’t see [Flipboard’s] Twitter integration lasting much longer,” the author writes.
Yet, McCue views Mastodon and the Fediverse as a sort of counterbalance to the anarchy that Musk has brought forth. We need to leave the situation where one individual effectively controls how various social communities interact with one another, he says.
Of course, there are still concerns about Mastodon’s potential to grow beyond its current status as a somewhat specialized Twitter alternative. Since Musk revealed his proposal to acquire Twitter last spring, the site has grown rapidly, but this growth has now stopped down. Also, new users may find the platform’s decentralized structure confusing. McCue, who was an executive at Netscape in the late 1990s at the height of the Web 1.0 period, acknowledges that the Fediverse is still searching for its “Netscape moment.”,” but he also believes that other well-known services may begin to see Mastodon more strategically.
In the upcoming months, he says, “I think you’re going to see businesses like ours start to incorporate ActivityPub and push publishers and content providers to have a presence in the Fediverse.” “I think you’re going to have that Netscape moment” when that reaches a certain critical mass.