What is Threads?
If you’ve been living under a rock for the last few days, you mightn’t have heard about Threads. Basically, Threads is another Twitter-style social media platform, heavily integrated with Instagram (Meta). From what I understand (and I’m happy to be corrected), Meta plans on integrating Threads to the ActivityPub protocol in the future. ActivityPub (colloquially known as Federation) is how services like Lemmy, Kbin, Mastodon, Pixelfed, etc, integrate and can show posts/images from a remote instance on the local instance. In fact, it’s probably how most of you are reading this (as we’re a small server with less than 100 users)!
Why is Threads a threat to the Fediverse?
The way I see it, is it is similar to a company buyout. The company that’s purchasing the smaller company/competitor reassures the clientele of the smaller company that “Nothing will change. We want to embrace how this company operates and make the parent company like this one!”. Seems harmless, right? Wrong. I’ve seen it happen before with companies in Australia (and globally). It never turns out this way. It pretty much always works out for the worst, and ends up in pissed off clientele and a husk of a great company (I’m looking at you, iiNet… thanks, TPG for ruining it).
While not the same to what I believe will happen to the Fediverse should Meta/big-tech be able to Federate, it’s similar. Microsoft said it best themselves (as found by the U.S. DoJ); and this is what I believe we’ll end up with if we allow federation with Meta/big-tech. EEE (Embrace the technology (so, federate with the existing network), Extend the technology by developing PROPRIETARY extensions to the ActivityPub protocol (so, for example, Threads has a new feature that won’t be compatible or made available with the Open Source ActivityPub protocol), and finally Extinguish the Open Source ActivityPub protocol by marginalising existing Federation hosts because the new proprietary features they’ve added to ActivityPub are either exorbitantly expensive for small instances (like us) to use, or by simply locking the features up as “Trade Secrets” and never releasing them to the rest of the open network, thus killing all other instances because they have the largest share of users, and it has become the de-facto platform for everyone to use.
What is the stance of Bleh.au?
We have preemptively defederated from threads.net in the event they activate the ActivityPub protocol within Threads. Mainly for the reason above, but also because it has grown ridiculously fast overnight, and I don’t believe the content on there at this present time is what I want people to see when they come to my Fediverse instances.
I want to be clear; it’s not JUST Threads/Meta we should be concerned about. If, for example, Apple created a social media platform and it grew this ridiculously quickly overnight, I’d defederate it, too. Similar could be said with Twitter. If they decided to jump-on-in to the Fediverse, I’d defederate it as well, simply because Musk is nuts and his mentality towards technology mostly screams Embrace, Extend and Extinguish. And I don’t like the content on Twitter.
Many other instances aren’t speaking up about Threads or what they plan on doing regarding Federating with them. They’re staying quiet. I’m not sure why, but if a small server like us can be vocal about it, why can’t they?
That’s my stance on it. It’s not my only issue and sole reason why I’m defederating from Threads.net, but it’s the main, major reason. I’m happy to hear your thoughts on it! Let me know what you think.