Flipboard also began to open up to the fediverse. The platform announced this Monday that it is beginning to switch its user accounts to ActivityPub. In this first phase, some Flipboard accounts will be visible and can be followed by millions of users of decentralized social applications, such as Mastodon.
The company had already announced earlier this year its intention to participate in the federated universe. He started by integrating his app with Mastodon through an API. Next, you set up your own Mastodon server, before full ActivityPub integration.
“We are in the process of replacing all of our backend social with ActivityPub,” Flipboard CEO Mike McCue told The Verge. “I think Flipboard will be the first mainstream consumer service that existed in a walled garden and will change to ActivityPub.”
ActivityPub is the open social networking protocol, established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the body responsible for the open standards that power the modern web. Aside from Mastodon, WordPress and Pixelfed also support the protocol. Threads, also known as the Twitter of Instagram, also announced last week that it began testing its integration.
The Flipboard opening process will take place in three distinct phases. As of today, it is federating 25 editors and creators. In this way, they will be able to do tests and collect comments, the company explained in a statement. Starting in January, it will allow anyone in the fediverso to follow and interact with any public curator on Flipboard. And finally, starting in April next year, they will allow any user to follow and interact with any public account.
The first to test Flipboard’s integration with Mastodon and ActivityPub
Flipboard explained that they partnered with a first list of 25 publishers and creators to help them federate their accounts. Between them, The Verge, Semafor, The Conversation and several non-profit organizations. “We recognize that we are helping to set a precedent for how other services will federate in the future, so we will proceed in a thoughtful and collaborative manner,” McCue added.
This is the largest expansion of the Flipboard ecosystem since it was launched as a social magazine in 2010. “As more services become federated, the value of the flipboard will increase exponentially and we will usher in a more vibrant and interoperable era for people who create great content and all those who enjoy it,” McCue highlighted.
Meta’s Threads has also highlighted the integration process with ActivityPub as “the beginning of a new era of diverse and interconnected networks.” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, explained that, for now, he would allow Threads posts can be displayed on platforms like Mastodon and other networks compatible with the open and decentralized social network protocol.
In the case of Flipboard, it has always relied on curators to find good material for users to read. The only difference now is that those curators will be able to publish to Flipboard and anywhere else in one go.
Users will be able to opt out of posting their flips on Mastodon, but opting in will be the default experience. Flipboard has over 10,000 social magazine publishers and more than a quarter of a million people curating content using their app. And Mastodon today has around 1.5 million monthly active users, which could represent a notable increase for the fediverso when the Flipboard integration is fully implemented.