What the Heck Is the Fediverse?

Meta's ecosystem of apps includes Facebook, Instagram, and now Threads. But the fediverse goes beyond them.

Earlier this week, Meta launched Threads — the Twitter alternative that is connected through Instagram. Millions of users have already signed up, dwarfing other Twitter alternatives in the process.

Amongst all the new posts and Musk memes, users noticed a new word that could have a big impact on how you connect with others online.

So, what is the fediverse and what does is mean for the future of social media?

Meta and the Fediverse

If you’re one of the 30 million users that signed up for Threads in the first day, you likely saw a brief explainer page that gave you a quick overview of what to expect from the new social media app. It explained that the app is part of the Instagram platform and gave a little nod to the terms of service and privacy policy.

However, there was an additional explainer from Threads that had some users scratching their heads, which read: Future versions of Threads will work with the fediverse, a new type of social media network that allows people to follow and interact with each other on different platforms, such as Mastodon.

As far as explainers go, it was admittedly pretty brief. Fortunately, Meta put out an in-depth overview of the fediverse and how it will work in the future.

Threads Fediverse

“Our vision is that Threads will enable you to communicate with people on other fediverse platforms we don’t own or control. This means that your Threads profile can follow and be followed by people using different servers on the fediverse. Your content and information may be shared with those servers, for example, if you interact with content from other servers or if you have followers from other servers.”

So, what does that mean for everyday users? Honestly, there’s nothing to worry about right now, but it points to future plans by Meta for how users will interact on social media down the line.

What Is the Fediverse?

According to the blog post from Instagram, the fediverse — which is a portmanteau of “federation” and “universe” — is “a social network of different servers operated by third parties that are connected and can communicate with each other.”

Obviously, in the case of Meta, there are a lot of apps that are already part of the same ecosystem, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and now Threads. The fediverse, however, would allow even more expansive integration. You’d be able to use your Instagram account to interact with Mastodon, for example, which is not affiliated with Meta in any capacity.

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Effectively, it would allow you to use and connect your various social media accounts to access and interact with other social media accounts that aren’t necessarily connected by standard means.

This could be a big step in creating a more cohesive social media experience across the entire internet. That is, if Zuck can figure out this ‘verse better than the last one.

Zuck Loves a Good ‘Verse

Let’s be honest, this isn’t the first time Mark Zuckerberg has gotten excited about a particular ‘verse. In fact, it feels like yesterday that the company was rebranding itself as Meta in service of a Metaverse push to bring users into the virtual world of social media.

However, despite the massive investment in the Metaverse, the social media giant has substantially dialed back the push for the immersive virtual world due to an overwhelming lack of interest and the looming recession.

The fediverse could end up going the same route, although there are certainly more social media users asking for an integrated solution that allows for cross-platform use than a virtual meeting room filled with animated versions of your coworkers, so we’ll have to see how it all shakes out.

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Written by:
Conor is the Lead Writer for Tech.co. For the last six years, he’s covered everything from tech news and product reviews to digital marketing trends and business tech innovations. He's written guest posts for the likes of Forbes, Chase, WeWork, and many others, covering tech trends, business resources, and everything in between. He's also participated in events for SXSW, Tech in Motion, and General Assembly, to name a few. He also cannot pronounce the word "colloquially" correctly. You can email Conor at conor@tech.co.
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