Advertisement
Engadget
Why you can trust us

Engadget has been testing and reviewing consumer tech since 2004. Our stories may include affiliate links; if you buy something through a link, we may earn a commission. Read more about how we evaluate products.

Meta previews ‘fediverse sharing’ for Threads

It's still not clear when the feature will be more widely available.

Anadolu via Getty Images

Meta is continuing its slow march toward compatibility with the fediverse. The company has been experimenting with making posts from a handful of accounts available on Mastodon since the end of last year. Now, it’s offered a brief preview of how the integration works and what it might look like once more people have the ability to share from Threads directly to the fediverse.

Instagram engineer Peter Cottle gave a short presentation on “Threads in the Fediverse” at FediForum, a virtual event for decentralized social media enthusiasts. In the demo, Cottle explains how Threads users will be able to opt-in to fediverse sharing and offered some insight into how Meta is thinking about its role in the fediverse.

In a short video demo, first spotted by The Verge, Cottle shows off a new account setting called “fediverse sharing.” As the name suggests, the menu will enable users to make their posts viewable from Mastodon and other platforms that use ActivityPub. Notably, it appears to also come with lengthy disclaimers explaining exactly what that will mean for their content.

“I think it's actually kind of tricky for Threads because we have like 130 million people using it monthly, but a lot of people haven't heard of the fediverse,” Cottle said. “But we want to give them the ability to enter that kind of experience. So we have to both explain the fediverse and explain all the disclaimers and then make sure they feel good about the outcome.”

Visually, the fediverse will be represented on Threads by an icon that looks a bit like a planet (the symbol has previously been spotted in code in the app). Cottle explained that users who have enabled fediverse sharing will have the symbol viewable on their profiles and that they’ll see an indication in the app’s composer if a post will be visible in the fediverse. Cottle also confirmed that only public-facing accounts will have the ability to share to the fediverse. He also noted that users will have a 5-minute window before posts go live in order to make any changes or edits as Threads can’t guarantee a deleted Threads post is also deleted from the fediverse.

The demo comes as Meta has started to add a few more accounts to its fediverse sharing experiment. Right now, Mastodon users can follow Instagram chief Adam Mosseri and a handful of other Threads users, but the company hasn’t provided an update on when the functionality will be more widely available. Cottle’s demo also didn’t delve into how sharing from Mastoodn and other ActivityPub-enabled services intoThreads might work. (Right now, if a Mastodon user replies to a Threads post, the reply is only visible on Mastodon, not on Threads.)

But Cottle’s demo is another sign that Meta is taking the growing momentum for decentralized social media seriously. “I know there's a ton of skepticism about threads entering the fediverse, it's completely understandable,” Cottle said. “But I do want to make a plea that I think everyone on the team has really good intentions. We really want to be a really good member of the community and give people the ability to experience what the fediverse is and the power of a protocol.”