Meta (formerly Facebook) has recently published a social networking app to compete with Twitter. It’s named Threads. Threads allows users to create text-based posts with up to 500 characters, share photos, and upload videos up to five minutes long. It looks similar to Twitter, with an interface that gives users the option to like, comment, repost, and share threads.
Users can choose to log in with their Instagram usernames or create a new account. Threads does not currently support ActivityPub, but there are plans to integrate the protocol later down the line.
The plan to support ActivityPub is good news. However, the app is proprietary and it will be privacy-violating. The app is not available in the Europe due to the EU’s strict privacy regulations. That’s how dangerous it is for people’s privacy. (Update: I came to realization that them supporting ActivityPub is not actually good news!)
But privacy issues aside, Meta is a huge proprietor. The news about supporting ActivityPub, which is the protocol behind the fediverse (most notably Mastodon), should not misguide us about the nonfree app. We should move people to free software and open networks. The solution to Twitter, and the opportunity we now have, is to guide people to use free programs and networks such those that build Mastodon.
People should be in control of their computing and that’ll be possible only by using free software. Using social networks such as Mastodon which are built upon the idea of openness and freedom will encourage people to learn more about the issues we’re worried about and will enhance the ability of activists in our movement to promote freedom more and more and help more people understand what we stand for.
We should help our developers and activists to teach more people about freedom now that we have the opportunity to move people from proprietary software to freedom.