Today, Meta is launching its new microblogging platform called Threads. What is noteworthy about this launch is that Threads intends to become part of the decentralized social web by using the same standard protocol as Mastodon, ActivityPub.... This is a clear victory for our cause, hopefully one of many to come.
– Mastodon BDFL (Benevolent Dictator for Life) Eugen Rochko, in What to know about Threads, July 5
A lot has happened since I first published Should the Fediverse welcome its new surveillance-capitalism overlords? Opinions differ! a couple of weeks ago – including Meta launching its Threads product1, and announcing plans to federate with Mastodon and (presumably) the other platforms in the interconnected web of decentralized social networks known as the "fediverse." And while Rochko and others see it as a huge victory, opinions continue to differ . In fact, especially once Threads couldn't launch in the EU, because of privacy issues, and well-known anti-trans and racist accounts like Libs of TikTok and PragerU as enthusiastic early adopters of Threads, more and more instances are pre-emptively blocking Meta, including hundreds who have signed the Anti-Meta FediPact – and including blahaj.zone, which is where I'm hanging out a lot more these days.1
So I've done a massive update to Should the Fediverse welcome its new surveillance-capitalism overlords? Opinions differ!, incorporating new developments as well as adding additional perspectives. One of the new sections that's is a compilation of of the various polls people have done, which I've included in this post as well. And I've also added a lot of quotes since the original version. For example:
"I can't believe some people are seriously considering allowing #meta before they solve their spam, esp. nazi spam problem.... Let me remind you: You log on to tell your extended family good morning, and within the first few things on your home feed, someone has commented that some people in a marginalized group are not deserving of life or freedom."
– IronWynch, on soc.irowyn.ch
"Let’s welcome Meta, not block them."
– Manton Reese, on micro.blog
"Admins federating with Threads, you are removing the safety barriers and it is going to destroy any community that exists within your realm where LGBTQ+ people just joke around and laugh and make friends and share their experiences. As soon as your users are aware they have an audience of 100M Threads users, many right wing or anti-trans who want to attack them for their existence, make them the target of the week, they will cease to be afforded that open experience."
– CJ Bellwether on octodon.social
"Any instance that defederates the upcoming Instagram instance is just going to isloate itself. It'll be an island of misfit loser zealots."
– John Gruber, quoted on MISFIT LOSER ZEALOT CLUB
"#Meta's #Threads wanting to federate with the #fediverse (if that will ever happen 🤞) is a form of #gentrification. A large corporate shopping mall settles in a nice neighborhood with small local run shops and community centers. The new shopping mall says 'if we settle here, more people will come, and you all will benefit'. A few years later all small shops are bankrupt and the community is destroyed. What remains is a barren corporate landscape."
– joene, on todon.nl
"If your community can’t survive Meta using ActivityPub, then it doesn’t deserve to exist"
– Chris Trottier, on atomicpoet.org
Like I say, opinions differ.
If you've read earlier version of Should the Fediverse welcome its new surveillance-capitalism overlords? Opinions differ!, the Update Log describes the changes. If you haven't read it yet, there's a lot of detail in it; feel free to skip around and pick the sections you're interested in.
Speaking of polls ...
There have a lot of polls about Meta and Threads in the fediverse over the last six weeks. Max Pearl's is one of the most recent, and I really liked the wording, which is why I asked him for permission to screenshot it (as I have with the other polls I've included screenshots of here and in previous versions). Of course, polls on the fediverse aren't any more reliable than polls on Twitter or other social networks, so should be taken with several grains of salt. Still, it's interesting data.
Depending on how the question is framed, some polls show overwhelming opposition to Meta. In my May 28 poll, with a very leading question analogizing Meta to Gab, 97% supported blocking. And here's another similarly-lopsided poll, in response to Universeodon's admin (a strong proponent of working with Meta) saying he had deleted his contributions to Mastodon's issues list on github because of snark from "people that looked like cats, princesses, and video game characters," and by contrast "talking with meta was fresh air because i was talking with engineers that had a common goal."
I know who I'm betting on!
Other, more neutrally worded polls, show strong but far for universal support for preemptively blocking (at least from accounts who see and respond to polls about Meta, which may or may not be representative of broader opinions).11
- Jens Finkhäuser's May 22 poll: 44% of the responses expressing an opinion wanted Meta preemptively blocked
- James Dreben's May 24 poll: 64% wanted Meta to be blocked on their instance.
- Tokyo Outsider's June 25 poll: 68% said they'd move instances to be on one that didn't federate with Meta.
- Volker Weber's June 28 poll: 43% will move to an instance that excludes Meta.
- Stux' June 28 poll: 63% wanted Meta blocked. Wwith over 8000 responses, this has the broadest participation of any of the polls.
- Max Pearl's July 3 poll: 70% wanted their instance to block – and 44% say they'll move instances if their current instance doesn't block
- mcc's July 5 poll: 36% are opposed to Meta federating, 30% are alarmed, and only 10% are supportive. mcc also did a second poll at the same time, asking a similar question about Tumblr, with very different results , highlighting how much of the opposition is specific to Meta.
Update, July 12:
- todon.nl and todon.eu' July 11 poll of their members: 88% voted not to federate.
1 The Free Fediverse wiki has a (partial) list of announcements by instances who are blocking.
2 If you're one of the many pepople who think Gruber is ridiculous, make sure to check out footnote #5 in the full article!
July 12: add todon.nl/todon.eu poll.