Should the Fediverse welcome its new surveillance-capitalism overlords? Opinions differ!

I'm changing my stance on the whole Meta/project92 thing after reading this article. I think the entire* fediverse should block project92 by default. Later, some instances can re-evaluate whether to maintain those blocks, once we have a better idea of what the benefits and consequences of federating will be:

Of course, it's possible to work with companies you don't trust. Still, a strategy of trusting the company you don't trust until you actually catch them trying to screw you over is ... risky. There's a lot to be said for the approach describes as "prudently defensive" in Meta on the Fediverse: to block or not to block?: "block proactively and, if none of the anticipated problems materialise within time, consider removing the block." Georg of frames it similarly:

We will do the watch-and-see strategy on our instance in regards to : block them, watch them, and if they behave (hahahahaha) we will see if we unblock them or not. No promise though

Previously, I'd thought "some block, some federate" would be the best approach, as described in this post by @atomicpoet:

My stance towards Meta is that the Fediverse needs two types of servers:

  1. Lobby servers that explicitly federate with Meta for the purposes of moving people from Meta to the rest of the Fediverse

  2. Exit servers that explicitly defederate with Meta for the purposes of keeping portions of the Fediverse out of reach from Meta

Both approaches not only can co-exist with each other, they might just be complementary.

People who use Meta need a way to migrate towards a space that is friendly, easy-to-use, and allows them to port their social graph.

But People also need a space that’s free from Meta, and allows them to exist beyond the eye of Zuckerberg.

Guess what? People who use Meta now might want to be invisible to Meta later. And people who dislike Meta might need a bridge to contact friends and family through some mechanism that still allows them to communicate beyond Meta’s control.

And thankfully, the Fediverse allows for this.

mountainpeacock avatar

Meta has shown repeatedly that they aren't trustworthy. This is like watching a wolf eat every one of your chickens in the coop and then swearing up and down that if you let it in the hen house, it won't touch the chickens in there. Absolutely zero chance that they aren't going to try to take over and steal data and control it. Why else are they trying to come in? These corporations don't make moves like this unless they see a potential profit. I vote block.


I can't imagine that meta aren't already collecting fediverse data. It's an existential threat to their business model and the data is comparatively easy to harvest. I'll bet their internal user model already has records for which federated services a facebook user also uses. There's not a lot of privacy here!

Onii-Chan, (edited )
Onii-Chan avatar

Bingo. If Meta get their foot in the door, then the writing will be on the wall and the Fediverse as we know it today will slowly disappear. These huge corporations have extremely covert and efficient methods of influencing change and instilling their evil values which aren't fully-apparent until it's already too late.

If Meta get involved, personally, I'll be leaving, and will just accept that the internet will never again be allowed to exist in a free state; the system won.

EDIT: I also left all social media over two years ago, and this was largely because Facebook was making me remarkably unhappy and angry. I don't want them in my life full stop and have gone out of my way to rid my digital identity of any ties to corporate proprietary bullshit. I like it here precisely because it has no corporate overlord, and it makes me sick to think that Meta can just waltz back into my life in a space users largely want to be left alone in.


Exactly my opinion. Thanks.

TheDeadGuy avatar

Big companies are driven by profit and power. I don't expect us to keep them out but it would be nice to prevent them from becoming the default, or else we'll just repeat the same thing over again

Multiple smaller communities connected together is the best strategy for a free internet IMO


I would defederate and block any and every instance owned or strongly influenced by meta on principle alone.


It's not about Meta, it's about the people.

I welcome the millions to the fediverse with open arms and hope they find our side a bit less surveillance-y and more pleasant.


block every corporations, they will destroy the fediverse if we'll let them join

magnetosphere avatar

What concerns me is that Meta will likely be on their best behavior at first, making people who are rightfully skeptical look like alarmists. Some instances will then decide that it’s okay to federate with Meta, because they’ve played nice.

If Meta is smart, they’ll only show their true colors gradually and with subtlety. We must expect them to play the long game. It’s vital to remember that no matter how friendly they seem, Meta will always do whatever looks most profitable. There is no profit for Meta in allowing the fediverse to continue untouched.


Which means there is nothing to worry about because admins will continue to shoot their own foot off. Not sure why it's such a big deal for people who will never use it anyway.


Embrace, extend, extinquish. That’s the tactic, the reason it works so well is cause of how you say, it makes them look all nice in the beginning.,_extend,_and_extinguish


I would also throw in We could be tolerant of Meta, but as soon as it can Meta sure as hell isn't gonna be tolerant of us.

Teali0 avatar

I think it all comes down to why does Meta do anything? Money. And, the timing of their supposed interest in the Fediverse is after the second notable exodus from a major social network. Meta sees more people & more engagement here which equates to more potential profits on their end.

I looked into Mastodon after the whole Twitter thing in November, but I didn't really use Twitter, so an alternative at the time didn't make sense for me. However, I was an avid Reddit user for the last nine years, so when these API changes came to light and my app (Sync) was going to cease to exist, well I took the Fediverse alternatives more seriously and realized that ActivityPub is awesome technology that is now invaluable to the internet.

I'm here to stay.

jalda avatar

And, the timing of their supposed interest in the Fediverse is after the second notable exodus from a major social network. Meta sees more people

Project 92 has been on the news since at least May 20, a couple of weeks before the Reddit drama, and it seems that they have been testing it with influencers for months.

I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment about Facebook, but I think some of these takes fail to get the whole picture. Facebook isn't interested in us, Fediverse users and our communities. As you said, they only care about money. And the money today is in creating a competitor to Twitter. Mastodon happens to have an open-source Twitter clone, and Facebook can use it without spending much in coding. Also, the federation aspect allows advertisers to defederate from problematic communities, which is why they're leaving Twitter.

Meta sees more people & more engagement here which equates to more potential profits on their end.

According to the article that I linked, every Instagram account will carry to a Project 92 account. There are like 2 million Lemmy accounts, and a few millions more of Mastodon accounts. Instagram has billions, with b, of accounts. We are anecdotal in comparison with the engagement that the migrated Instagram users will create.

We are not Meta's target. We are the ones that will suffer their consequences.

Rottcodd, (edited )
Rottcodd avatar

This whole controversy irritates the fuck out of me, because it's driven by people who either don't grasp the nature of the fediverse or are willfully misrepresenting it.

By design, there are no mechanisms by which Meta can be prevented from owning an instance, and there are no mechanisms by which the fediverse as a whole can respond in any particular way. That's not a bug - it's a feature.

The exact idea behind the fediverse is that centralized authority is ultimately harmful, and that a social media network can manage without it, through the carrot and stick of federation/defederation.

So anyone who wants to start an instance can (which necessarily includes Meta). That's not an ideal or a policy - it's a fact. There's literally no way for anyone to stop anyone else from starting an instance.

And every instance owner can decide whether or not to federate with any other instance.

And every individual can decide which instance(s) they want to join or follow.

And that's it. That's the whole deal, right there.

The whole idea behind the ActivityPub protocol is that those things are sufficient to establish and maintain a healthy ecosystem. And ALL anyone can do at this point is wait and see if that works out to be true or not. There's literally nothing else anyone can do.

So all of this sturm und drang is just pointless, emotive nonsense. It's fear and hostility that cannot possibly have any bearing on anything. The system is already in place and events are already unfolding and it's all going to play out however it does and all of your hand-wringing abd fear-mongering and anger and demands mean NOTHING. They're just divisive noise.

8BitFriendly avatar

I also think fear-mongering won't help. There is little we can change about it. Let instances decide for themselves to defederate or not.

Yes, there is a risk Meta applies the "EEE" strategy. We shouldn't be naive about that. But why would you stay on an ad-ridden Meta ActivityPub server if you see there are friendly, ad-free Activity servers on Mastodon and the likes?

For a more positive view and an interesting read on the matter, I recommend:


Many people have migrated to the fediverse to get away from corporate overreach. Do not give them an inch.


Having them join fediverse doesn't give them an inch, it gives us light years. I can't believe people don't realize the upper hand we have here.


The upper hand of Facebook getting BTFO. I don't like mentioning the quote about his Harvard data collection because people post it all the time and it feels overused, but I feel it's particularly relevant here:

Zuck: People just submitted it.

Zuck: I don't know why.

Zuck: They "trust me"

Zuck: Dumb fucks.

I'd rather we not repeat the same mistake. This time we know full well not to trust him, and I say this as someone with a considerable amount invested in Meta right now.


Again, meta joining doesn't change anything for you if you don't follow and you block it yourself.

activitypub is already a public protocol.

It's about people. You have your agency to act as you see fit. There are good people on meta platforms that i hope to invite here and activitypub makes that possible.

That's all that matters.

If its about privacy and protecting your data from corporations, activitypub is the wrong protocol for that.

meetmeatthebackofdennys, (edited )

XMPP is a "public protocol" too, google came in, "supported it", then defederated from it and took all their users. Big companies have technical sway, hell, just look at how chrome can push and block w3c standards because its the big voice in the room and you either conform to them or slowly die.


Evryone fought about the protocol forgetting that success was always about adoption.

If we want activitypub to succeed we need to embrace adoption everywhere

TheDeadGuy avatar

The casual user is not the informed user

jelloeater85, avatar

At risk of sounding aloof, but the "normies" won't care, they just want what's easy, not what's best long term. It's a bigger problem with humanity TBH.

sangle_of_flame, avatar

imagining that the Fediverse has any real power to twist the arm of Meta (a corporation) is kinda naive


I‘m here because corporations are a collection of moldy, parasitic assholes who enshittify platforms, how anyone can be on here and still have this naive trust in them is what truly confounds me.

If they were willing to participate in good faith and share traffic, or anything at all, why not just go ahead and spin up their little instance? Why the sketchy NDA shit? Why come for the admins and devs?

All they want is a monopoly on our data and on how the fediverse works, this move by them is nothing but an attempt to snuff out this blossoming community (aka competition).

They dress it up in doublespeak to make it seem beneficial to us, but if they get enough admins and devs on their side, those people will come to regret it in a few years when their community has no activity stemming from itself anymore and is overshadowed by some proprietary Meta nonsense they foolishly (or greedily if money is involved) signed up for.

supernovae, (edited )

Admins that talk after the initial meeting no longer sign ndas.

ndas for unreleased projects are not sketchy.

What is sketchy is people justifying abuse, anger and hate towards fellow people because they don’t know what is going on and failed to ask a single question before they started to hate people.

i’m sorry, but abuse is never justified.

Have any specific questions i can answer or anything you want me to ask?

My “MO” has always been to work in the open and break through the bulllshit.


Having meta join doesn't change shit here other than have a huge corporation break the wall down on what federation means to the average joe - and that's a good thing.

Meta will meta no matter what they do - but if we can break the walled garden down and make it easy for users to move that would be great.

LostCause, (edited )

Ty for providing the prime example of user I was talking about, "Let‘s embrace the corporation, they extend our service!" Oops we got extinguished, who could have seen it coming?,_extend,_and_extinguish

I sure hope the devs and admins of the major instances think differently, but if they don‘t and the entire protocol turns to some halfway proprietary shitshow forcing us to use Meta to access most of it, I‘ll come and find you to write "I told you so." Or I guess I won‘t, cause I‘ll be hiding on some abandoned part of the fediverse which can‘t communicate with you anymore cause Meta won‘t let me without signing up for their ads.


I disagree with you 100% :)

What i'm saying is people like you will never be convinced of anything so it doesn't matter what Meta does.

But for the rest of us, I'll enjoy following people i haven't followed because i refuse to have meta apps installed but will soon be able to connect without them.

Activitypub is going to be here no matter what.

I'll make it so awesome the people I like on Meta will move over

And i'll continue to ignore the people who are just espousing hate and vitriol because they don't matter anyway.

It's about the people - not the protocol. the protocol helps us break the walled gardens down - but we have to welcome the people or it won't matter.


You do realize that Meta will likely implement incentives to stay on their platform, and weed out other federations over time, right?

They're absolutely planning to grab Fediverse members, and will make efforts to prevent the other way around. Your friends will stay with the meta product because it's more convenient for them to do so.

You honestly seem to be more rooting for meta than the fediverse, since you seem certain that "anyone who disagrees could never be convinced otherwise"...but you seem to have only taken into account fediverse users doing this, not meta users. Like you're arguing very one-sidedly.

If you can't convince them to jump ship now, I just don't see what changes when Meta provides them (as meta users) more options, not less.


Y'all seriously don't think any of this through do you?

Right now, if they jump ship - they lose their network.

In the future, if they jump ship - they can do so and still maintain their network.

My enthusiasm for the fediverse is there because i see this as opportunity to shine.

Y'all see it as opportunity to run and lock your doors.

You're like the Trump of the fediverse. "Build a wall"

I say fuck that.


They wouldn't even try to interact with fediverse, if they couldn't make hooks to keep people from jumping ship. They're not stupid, and they know nobody in their network would jump ship just because they chose not to federate.

You argue that people who argue against you are "trump of the fediverse"? You sound like you're the kind of person who would give Trump a chance. What's the worst he could do?

Turns out he practically redefined what a President could do. And none of it good.

LostCause, (edited )

Don‘t act as if you‘d have listened to me if I had dressed it up in pretty words for you, plenty of journalists have done that already anyway. I‘ll spew my opinions as long as I still can cause believe it or not, I also care about this platform, as I see it as the last ditch effort at having a corporate free space and an online community which isn‘t entirely focused on selling us and selling things to us.


Don’t act like abusing me or other admins is justified because you think it is. it isn’t

ask me some questions. not loaded bullshit questions but real questions.

sangle_of_flame, avatar

there's a bizarre level of naivety here

Meta is a corporation. Meta fundamentally has incentive to either subsume or make irrelevant any competitors, or anything that could possibly be an alternative.

The Fediverse is one such thing. I fully expect Meta to either do a Google and make ActivityPub irrelevant or to straight up embrace and extend ActivityPub in such a way that their implementation is the primary one used.

like if Meta's not protected against, it will be the only one winning here

wave_walnut avatar

Fediverse should be free and no one should rule over it.
What Meta should be defederated or not is owed by every instances.
By the way, Meta has a lot of scam accounts now, so it should be defederated from my instance.


There are a lot of spam accounts on fediverse. There is a huge sex worker/porn under belly, there is a HUGE amount of organized fraud. If anything, having meta join will dilute some of our own hot mess.

!deleted95653, (edited )


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  • supernovae,

    Yup, I've always said moderation scales with the size of the fediverse, so a momentous change like p92 will scale that up - but not necessarily in any specific ratio. Because fediverse is loosely coupled, it will scale as the relationships build more than scale merely out of existence.

    !deleted95653, (edited )


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  • emstuff,

    wow! never seen in a real life example before jan Misali video

    Darnov avatar

    I agree that Meta shouldn't be trusted, and thus not federated across the fediverse.

    mrbigmouth502 avatar

    Fuck Meta. We need to vehemently oppose their presence in the Fediverse.


    Say what you will, certain communities won’t have a problem either way because there’s no way Facebook will willingly federate with them for longer than an hour.


    Exactly. Why would facebook even care about the existing, tiny, fediverse? They are probably doing this because the infrastructure maybe makes sense somehow for geographic reasons to save on server costs.


    I was thinking about that, it makes sense for Facebook to try federation so you can access the Instagram, Facebook, whatsapp and meta accounts universally from whatever account you have.

    So how do you do that if you’re meta? Start with activitypub, an existing standard, and then once you’ve learned how it works reprogram it to be proprietary. Same story as Google and xmpp.

    laurens avatar

    yeah, this. I find the assumption that Meta is even interested in federating with most servers to be quite optimistic, to say the least. Especially the servers that have signed the fedipact. Its great for them that they have the freedom of associating, and thus say that they do not want to federate with Meta. Thats the system working as intended. But they by and large have different, more relaxed rules about content thats most likely against Meta's CoC, especially around nudity.

    Instagram has around 1.3 BILLION users posting thirsty pictures at each other all day long, and they still dont allow nudity. I'm not sure why Meta would suddenly be okay with another of their platform showing nudity because a masto server with 20 people who hate Meta does like to post nudity.

    dandi8, (edited )

    For anyone "willing to give Meta a chance", ask yourself:

    Q: Why is Meta doing this?
    A: To make money.

    Q: How is Meta going to make money out of this?
    A: By having as many users on their instance as they can, so they can sell their data and advertise to them (that is Meta's modus operandi, after all).

    This is already antithetical to the entire fediverse concept, where you want users to be as spread out over instances as possible.

    Having most of the users on one instance means the "community cost" of defederating from that instance is enormous to the point of being inadvisable for an instance admin. This brings us to a scenario where the 'federation' is essentially useless, as everyone is producing/consuming content on the one instance.

    Therefore, the idea of a commercial entity using the fediverse, by itself, mutilates what the fediverse is all about.

    !deleted95653, (edited )


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  • sangle_of_flame, avatar

    fucking bizarre that you think that a corporation is the same thing as a small collective of software developers or an indie studio

    like I can't even wrap my head around how you could think this way

    !deleted95653, (edited )


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  • sangle_of_flame, avatar

    EEE isn't conspiracy, it's literally how corporations work

    either subsume the competition (or alternative) or extinguish it; every corporation wants to become the monopoly in the market they're in


    Holy strawman, Batman!
    I'm not even going to address the rest of your comment if the thing you start with is claiming that I don't want developers to get money for their work.

    anthoniix avatar

    Embrace extend extinguish. Do not allow them to join if you want this community to last.

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