On Friday, Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced an ambitious vision for integrating Threads, Meta’s Twitter competitor, into the fediverse over the next year. This comes just two days after Threads began initial testing of ActivityPub, the protocol that connects decentralized social networks.
Mosseri laid out a roadmap for Threads interoperability across several key areas:
- Follow Options: The option to follow Threads profiles will eventually roll out to all public accounts, not just testers. Threads will require accounts to opt-in to federation, but may make this the default.
- Displaying Replies: Threads wants to display replies from the fediverse directly inside the Threads app, providing a seamless cross-platform conversation.
- Following External Accounts: Users will be able to follow accounts on Mastodon and other networks from within Threads. Privacy and integrity issues remain.
- Creator Portability: Most significantly, creators will be able to leave Threads while retaining their subscribers. As Mosseri stated, “creators [should] own their relationship with their audience.”
This vision positions Threads as an integral part of the open social web. However, Mosseri admits achieving it will take significant engineering work across privacy, discoverability, moderation, and other domains.
The timeline of “better part of a year” is slower than the Threads team would like. But incrementally enabling interoperability is a wise approach given the complexity. If Meta realizes this roadmap, it would represent a seismic step toward mainstream adoption of an interoperable social web.