Flipboard May Surpass Threads & Become Largest Instance In The Fediverse

Flipboard rounded icon

Last month, Flipboard surprisingly implemented a suggestion from fans by activating ActivityPub for curated magazines.

However, in that glorious announcement, I missed an exciting tidbit that could result in Flipboard becoming the largest instance in the Fediverse.

With the initial test group now integrated with ActivityPub, Flipboard says that the plan is to get started generating the remaining active and public curators and their magazines. The company plans to begin this process in March but will offer an opt-out to anyone who wants to keep their magazine on Flipboard exclusively. (Via TechCrunch, emphasis mine)

By allowing ActivityPub to be on by default, Flipboard will enable users to experience the power of the Fediverse, which will make the site the heavyweight champion overnight. This strategy makes more sense for Flipboard when contrasted with Threads, as the former is designed to be an information-sharing hub.

Previously, Threads initiated a public beta test connecting willing accounts to the Fediverse (my handle is @darnell@threads.net on the site).

However, activating ActivityPub will be an opt-in feature, which means Threads will probably have little interaction with the Fediverse in the future. Meta has thus far not revealed how many Threads accounts are on the Fediverse, but according to @fediversereport@mastodon.social, the amount might be minuscule.

A short update on statistics about Threads: Threads' legal department denied the request to share NodeInfo data, according to Daniel Supernault, who maintains fedidb.org. Mastodon's CTO Renaud Chaput meanwhile indicates that mastodon.social knows about 2800 Threads accounts who have turned on federation. While the mastodon.social server does not know about all Threads accounts, it does provide a good indication of roughly the amount of Threads accounts that have turned on federation. (The Fediverse Report)

The vast majority of Threads users have yet to activate ActivityPub upon their accounts, & if one were to extrapolate CTO Chaput’s numbers, probably less than 30,000 Threads accounts are active in the Fediverse out of 130 million users.

When Threads allows users outside of the United States πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ, Japan πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ & Canada πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ to activate ActivityPub, we could see the number of federated accounts climb to over 100,000 users. However, it would be surprising if that number surpasses 10 million users on Threads after the beta ends.

Meanwhile, Flipboard boasts over 100 million users according to the latest estimates. I could not locate any official numbers within the past couple of years, but in 2020, Flipboard posted respectable numbers on their social network site.

One thing that I've heard time and time again is that partners are looking for ways to diversify their referral traffic sources, to be less dependent on the duopoly of Google and Facebook. With 145 million monthly active users globally, Flipboard doesn't match the size of the largest social platforms, but we help move the needle because people come to Flipboard to catch up on the things they are most interested in. (Flipboard Business Blog, emphasis mine)

According to FediDB, about 1 million accounts out of 10 million are active on the Fediverse.

Fediverse stats for active and total users

To my knowledge, these statistics exclude Threads, as the latter has yet to differentiate between total user accounts & federated accounts (for the sake of transparency Flipboard reveals both numbers publicly).

However, when Flipboard activates ActivityPub for their entire site (note: my future federated account will be @darnell@flipboard.com), we will witness a 100-fold jump in the number of active users in the Fediverse, & it ironically will be the result of a company not owned by an eccentric billionaire.

This will result in Flipboard not only boasting more federated accounts than any other instance (including Threads) but shortly, they could potentially surpass Meta’s social network in total users overall (if Flipboard has not done so already).

πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» by @darnell@darnellclayton.com πŸ”› @darnell@darnell.day

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