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Decentralized Social Media Rises as Twitter Melts Down


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Accessing the Mastodon site with a laptop.

Mastodon, unlike Twitter, is not hosted as a singular service but instead a collection of independent servers that communicate through ActivityPub.

Credit: Matthew S. Smith/IEEE Spectrum

Is the future of social media decentralized? That question might've felt absurd a few years ago, but the Fediverse is challenging long-held assumptions about how social media should work.

The Fediverse, unlike the social networks that rose to dominance over the last two decades, is a decentralized collection of servers that communicate over an open protocol. The idea isn't new, but it's gained traction as centralized social networks like Twitter,Facebook, and Tiktok find themselves mired in controversy.

"You basically lose your entire social graph to go [to another social network], which is a superhigh wall," says Tim Chambers, principal and cofounder of Dewey Digital and administrator of the Mastodon server indieweb.social. "However, when things become sufficiently chaotic on platforms, as Twitter is seeing now, that is a force strong enough to incite such migrations."

From IEEE Spectrum
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