Willow's fediverse page!

Here I provide a pointer to several alternatives to the big tech that tracks and surveils you.

Important privacy considerations

The "fediverse" refers to a loose collection of decentralized, independently-owned social media servers usually run by volunteers and community organizations. The software used to run these servers are free and open-source, therefore, anyone can operate an "instance" (a server) that uses them and may or may not be connected to other fediverse servers. While this means that a very minimal set of personally identifiable data are collected and you won't be tracked and profiled in the same manner as on the major social media platforms (usually just an email address, password, and whatever you choose to enter into your profile page), it also means that your privacy and security are entirely based on trust in whoever who may be running your server. Because of the overreaching laws and regulations geared toward the big tech, most fediverse instances are NOT compliant with GDPR or CCPA. But this should not be a big concern as most fediverse instances do not even attempt to collect or track personal data beyond what you choose to post.

Keep in mind that nothing is encrypted or private, even if you set your post as "private" or "unlisted." Direct messages are unencrypted. It is therefore not recommended to use the fediverse as a means of private or sensitive communication (except for XMPP/Jabber, when messages are E2E encrypted with OMEMO, as well as for Matrix, which is E2E encrypted by default). As an old adage goes, anything you put out in cyberspace is public and potentially forever. It is also worth noting that recently FBI seized a server that, among others, contained backup data of a Mastodon server, in an investigation unrelated to the fediverse operations.

How to join

These links will take you to the general introduction and information site, which contains tutorials, app download links, and a list of servers.

Mastodon servers (recommended over Pleroma and Misskey)

Notes about Threads and Bluesky

Both Meta's Threads and the Bluesky apps plan to become part of the fediverse in the future. Threads will become ActivityPub compatible, and Bluesky has its own open-source code (which at this time does not seem to be ActivityPub interoperable) that anyone can self-host. However, many server owners/operators are already expressing that they will not federate with Threads or Bluesky.

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