Snippet: You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This App Is About You: On Meta and Mastodon ☇

Shared on July 11, 2023

Watts Martin:

So if Threads isn’t trying to overwhelm and destroy Mastodon, why have ActivityPub support at all? Two answers. First, “Look, see? We’re open!” is not only perceived as a great talking point these days, it’s perceived as a regulatory relief valve. Look, see? ActivityPub! We’re open!

Second, remember that the business model for Threads is keeping you on Threads. If 95% of your friends are on Threads but 5% are over on that weird Mastodon thing, now you don’t have to use Mastodon to follow them! Just follow them from Threads! Woo! […]

The argument Mastodon is collectively mustering against Threads is, at the end of the day, “but Facebook is evil!” Again, no argument. But Mark Zuckerberg is evil in the way of a greedy, privacy-flouting tech bro, not in the way of Sauron. Not only would the “extinguishing” part of “embracing, extending and extinguishing” Mastodon be extremely difficult at a technical level, the plausible ROI on doing so would be minimal at best—and probably even counterproductive.

Having been watching this unfold, I think this really gets to the nuance of the situation. One can dislike and not trust Facebook Meta, while also being optimistic about interoperability. As for the long-term intentions, Martin is absolutely correct: Mastodon’s user base is a rounding error in comparison.

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