Something big and powerful is growing on the web these days by the name of Mastodon, known as Masto among his friends. After more than six years of almost token presence on the Internet, the service has suddenly become a mass phenomenon, emerging as a convincing alternative to Twitter, which is now faltering. More than his merit, success is given by the implosion suffered by Elon Musk’s social network.

The tycoon seems bent on discrediting and convulsing the global communication tool, while scares away 258 million increasingly puzzled users. Many of them are looking for another site for their messages, reflections and comments and in their flight they have come across Fediverso, personified in the first instance in Mastodon. The latter is the federated social network with the most users in the world, where its almost 6 million accounts (3.6 million active, according to data from November 20) can discover the microblogging network that suits their tastes. Mastodon cannot be understood without Fediverso, also known as Fedi, which is a federated universe of social networks that currently has 7.45 million users, with almost four million active accounts.

The aforementioned Fediverso, with its local and independent federated servers, allows users to freely interact with each other as if they were on a single social network, that is, as if it were Twitter or Facebook, but without Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg pulling the strings. In his case, Fediverso works on the ActivityPub technical standard, with 10,000 nodes working as if it were just one. Behind the scenes of each server appear volunteers who work altruistically, without advertisers or venture capital firms. The shed is financed with micro-donations from users, with no interest other than keeping the invention operational and sizing itself for growth.

Unlike the social networks that command the Nasdaq, the Fediverso platforms are not for sale. Orphaned by algorithms and advertising, each Internet user can follow whoever they want and receive their publications in chronological order. There is no character limit, messages already sent can be edited and it also supports photos, videos, animations, songs and other content in digital format.

With similar premises, any company that is interested in feeding the social conversation could join Fediverso with its own server or instance, but without ambitions to control the rest of the nodes that are part of the ecosystem. Due to all of the above, users find it easier to share messages and discover new followers within their own instance than in other instances, which is an incentive that favors thematic specialization. Likewise, the federated platform also offers the possibility of managing the audience without intermediaries without more control than that of each decentralized server wants to propose. Thus, each of the nodes establishes its own rules that are applied locally and not universally, as is the case with conventional social networks.

The rules are more flexible and to the liking of the different groups of people who participate, so users who do not share those guidelines can leave in silence and find a server (or instance) that better accommodates your principles. The fact that there is no central control does not mean that bad practices can circulate freely, without space for xenophobic, violent or denigrating comments. “The instances are like your apartment; being let into someone’s instance is a privilege, not a right,” explain Fediverso sources.

Experts in the matter highlight the value of a decentralized system, where each server has absolute independence to act with other entities and create a global social network. It is also characterized by the use of free and open source, which incorporates improvements from the community. Such free software is developed by nonprofit organizations whose resilience and prosperity depend on public support. Copyrights are licensed so that no one can appropriate them. “We believe in your right to use, copy, study and change Mastodon as you see fit and we benefit from contributions from the community,” they explain.

The Fediverso microcompanies are neither listed on the stock market nor for sale, where the sovereignty of the data resides in the users without marketing for advertising purposes. The great strength of the system is its interoperability, since one account is enough to gain access “to a whole universe of social applications”, they explain from Mastodon.

How does it work?

The most direct way to join the community is to install the official mastodon app, for example (available on iOS and Android), and choose a server whose ideology or theme matches the interests of the Internet user. Before registering, you must accept the specific commitments of the owner of the server and the rules that exist there. Once inside the Fediverse, the user can change the server or use applications from other Fediverse. You need a phone number with a SIM card and an account on one of Fedi’s servers is enough to access the rest, because all nodes understand and interoperate with each other. Once accepted by some instance, the user can do practically the same as he did with Twitter, including the possibility of making his content go viral in the event that the community really considers it worthy of sharing.

Source: www.eleconomista.es

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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