Meta: The Greatest Fediverse App Will Be Built By Us (Threads)

Threads as death in the Fediverse

Image Credit: on Pepper & Carrot

So the Verge has an excellent interview of by & the first 17 minutes of the interview are worth watching (after that it deviates into other topics).

You can read the transcript on the Verge or watch the video below, but there were a few interesting highlights.

Cultural Foundation For Threads

Meta wants to build out a foundation for Threads based on positivity according to Mark Zuckerberg.

So that's been a big part of how we've tried to emphasize and develop Threads. And, you know, over time, if you want it to be ubiquitous, you obviously want to be welcome to everyone. But I think how you seed the networks and the culture that you create there, I think, ends up being pretty important for how they scale over time.

Where with Facebook, we started with this real name culture, and it was grounded to your college email address. You know, it obviously hasn't been grounded to your college email address for a very long time, but I think the kind of real authentic identity aspect of Facebook has continued and continues to be an important part of it.

So I think how we set the culture for Threads early on in terms of being a more positive, friendly place for discussion will hopefully be one of the defining elements for the next decade as we scale it out. We obviously have a lot of work to do, but I'd say it's off to quite a good start. Obviously, there's the huge spike, and then, you know, not everyone who tried it out originally is going to stick around immediately. But I mean, the monthly active's and weekly's, I don't think we're sharing stats on it yet.

Zuckerberg declined to release official stats for Threads (so rumors of Threads stagnating might be premature), but he seems content with its size thus far as the site is only three months old.

Facebook (& Maybe Instagram) Will Never Fully Embrace The Fediverse

It looks as if my theory that Facebook (& by extension Instagram) would eventually embrace the Fediverse will probably never happen for technical reasons.

I've had our team at various times do the thought experiment of like, “Alright, what would it take to move all of Facebook onto some kind of decentralized protocol?” And it's like, “That's just not going to happen.” There's so much functionality that is on Facebook that it's way too complicated, and you can't even support all the different things, and it would just take so long, and you'd not be innovating during that time.

I think that there's value in being on one of these protocols, but it's not the only way to deliver value, so the opportunity cost of doing this massive transition is kind of this massive thing. But when you're starting from scratch, you can just design it so it can work with that. And we want to do that with this because I thought that that was one of the interesting things that's evolving around this kind of Twitter competitive space, and there's a real ecosystem around that, and I think it's interesting.

Ironically Threads messaging will be powered by Instagram, but Instagram itself will probably not fully embrace ActivityPub. This probably means platforms like Pixelfed will face no direct competition within the Fediverse from Meta.

Build The Best ActivityPub App (Threads By Meta)

Meta does intend to build the best ActivityPub on Earth & challenge platforms like Minds, Mastodon, & Misskey (the “3 M’s”) for the Fediverse crown.

Well, I guess my view is that the more that there's interoperability between different services and the more content can flow, the better all the services can be. And I guess I'm just confident enough that we can build the best one of the services, that I actually think that we'll benefit and we'll be able to build better quality products by making sure that we can have access to all of the different content from wherever anyone is creating it.

Threads has the resources to build the best ActivityPub app, but the question is whether they can convince the masses to use their platform over rival services (most of whom are open source).

My prediction: Threads will help bring the Fediverse to the mainstream, but most governments, companies, geeks, celebrities, etcetera, will eventually choose to host their own content on domains or servers that they control.

I do believe Threads will probably reach 100 million active users over the years, but my money is on Automattic will end up dominating the Fediverse in the future via WordPress & Tumblr (fun fact: Tumblr is larger than Threads right now).

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