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Threads is officially starting to test ActivityPub integration

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on Threads that the platform is beginning to test making Threads posts available on Mastodon and other ActivityPub-supporting services. Zuckerberg wrote that making Threads work with the interoperable standard “will give people more choice over how they interact and it will help content reach more people.”

Joining the fediverse — the decentralized world of social media that includes Mastodon, Pixelfed, and other services that all interoperate through ActivityPub — has been on the Threads team’s to-do list since the very beginning. Instagram head Adam Mosseri told The Verge in July that he believed decentralizing the platform was key to making it relevant to a new generation of creators. “I think we might be a more compelling platform for creators, particularly for the newer creators who are more and more savvy, if we are a place where you don’t have to feel like you have to trust us forever,” he said at the time.

Zuckerberg echoed the sentiment this fall, telling The Verge’s Alex Heath that “my view is that the more that there’s interoperability between different services and the more content can flow, the better all the services can be.” In August, Threads made it possible to verify your account through Mastodon, which isn’t exactly a decentralization feature but was at least a sign of goodwill toward the fediverse.

Skeptics have long held that Threads would never actually federate, even as Zuckerberg, Mosseri, and others at Meta kept promising they would. For the largest and most centralized social service on the web, suddenly throwing open the gates to other platforms seemed like an unlikely pivot. And as Threads got bigger and more mature, ActivityPub integration became a bigger project — and as the platform became more successful, there were more reasons for Meta to try to back off its decentralization plans. But it appears the company might actually do it.

This test appears to only cover one small part of a truly federated social network — it doesn’t sound like you’ll be able to post from Mastodon to Threads, for instance, and you can’t move your account between services. But the test at least reaffirms Meta’s commitment to ActivityPub and to being part of the broader open social web.

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