The Hustle

The fediverse, explained

fediverse graphic

Upon launching Threads, Meta said its plan was “to make [it] part of the fediverse.” Now, it’s taken a step forward by allowing verified Threads profile links on platforms like Mastodon.

But quick follow-up Q: What the hell is the fediverse?

I thought the fediverse was short for Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets. Mark thought it was a fan group for Swiss tennis player Roger Federer.


The fediverse — a portmanteau of “federation” and “universe” — is a collection of interoperable social media platforms.

A few examples:

How are they different from traditional social media?

Fediverse platforms use ActivityPub, a decentralized social networking protocol. A protocol defines how communication systems transfer info — use the same one, speak the same language.

And while traditional companies host all content on their own servers, anyone can set up a fediverse server, AKA an “instance.” Some are more general, like Mastodon’s “social,” but they can also be more specific — e.g., for journalists, New Yorkers, or Roger Federer fans.

Instances can interact with each other on the same platform or across different platforms:

Note: Instances can block each other, and instances and platforms can set ground rules, so it’s not a total free-for-all out there.

Why would I use this?


… your friends and fave creators may stick to what they know — decentralized stuff can be difficult to parse and makes people think of crypto and NFTs.

Also, it’s hard to monetize sans ads or algorithms, so people who use instances may have to rely on donations to monetize them. If you want to be an influencer, you’re probably better off on TikTok.

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