Threads users can now share to the open social web, aka the fediverse

Instagram’s Twitter/X rival Threads is furthering its expansion into the fediverse — the interconnected social network that includes apps like Mastodon, PeerTube and others running the ActivityPub protocol. On Tuesday, Meta announced that it’s now opening up its beta for sharing to the fediverse to Threads users who are 18 and up and who are using Threads with a public account in global markets.

The beta was first introduced in March but was limited to three countries to start, including the U.S., Canada and Japan. In a post on Threads, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared that the option is now available to more than 100 countries worldwide.

With the beta, Meta is also taking on one of the larger initiatives around making the fediverse more viable: user education. Today, many people don’t understand how the fediverse works or what it means to federate your account across the open social web. But within Threads, Meta is offering an explainer that describes the fediverse as a social network of interacted servers, informs users how sharing works and answers some basic questions. In doing so, Meta may encourage more people to explore the fediverse, including those who may have felt more intimidated by existing federated apps, like Mastodon.

Alongside the expansion, Meta is also now allowing authors of federated posts to like and see replies from the wider fediverse. However, the final step of being able to respond to those replies with replies of your own is not yet live.

As this is a beta experience, Meta says that once you opt-in to fediverse sharing, your Threads posts will be available on Mastodon, and likes and replies from Mastodon and the fediverse will be available directly on Threads, too. To ensure the beta is also a good experience for Mastodon users, Meta says your posts from Threads will be available in the fediverse, but it’s only going to federate top-level posts and self-replies for the time being. Other post types, like polls and posts with reply controls, are not yet supported.

To turn on fediverse sharing in Threads, you’ll tap on the option in your Account Settings. It will be labeled “Fediverse Sharing (Beta)” and offers instructions and a link to Threads Supplemental Privacy Policy.

“Our goal remains to grow the fediverse responsibly, prioritizing the success of a safe, diverse, content-rich, and interoperable community,” Instagram shared in an email with TechCrunch. “This is just the next step in our journey to make Threads interoperable with ActivityPub, and we will continue to collaborate with developers and policymakers to make progress so creators and users across services can experience the benefits the fediverse offers, including expanded content reach, further fostering their community, portability, and more.”

With Threads, Meta almost immediately became the largest app in the fediverse, as it topped 150 million monthly active users as of April. The wider fediverse has north of 11 million total users, with 800K+ who are active on Mastodon monthly.


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