Start by reading these two articles:

Ok, now that you’ve done that (hopefully in the order I posted them), I can begin.

I have always been a strong supporter of Open Source Software (OSS), so much so that all of my projects (yes all) are OSS and fully open for anyone to use. And with that, I knew that things could be used for good… and bad. I took that risk. But I also made sure to build stuff that wasn’t, in itself, inherently bad. I didn’t build anything unethical to my eyes (I understand the nuance here).

But I’ve seen what unethical devs can do.

Just take a look at those implementing the ModFascismBot for Reddit (that’s not its name, but that’s what it is). That is an incredibly unethical thing to build. Not because it’s a private company controlling what they want their site to do, no, that’s fine by me. Reddit can do whatever they want. But because it’s an attempt to lie about reality, to force users to do something through manipulation not through honesty. Even subreddits that voted overwhelmingly to shut down still got messaged by the bot telling them that the users (that voted for it) didn’t want it and they had to open back up or they would be removed from mod position. This is not ethical. This is not right. This is not what the internet is about.

Or the unethical devs at Twitter, who:

It’s one thing for an organization to have political lean…that is just a part of life, and that will never end. It’s another to actually sow disinformation in order to accomplish nefarious things to further your profits. It is what has caused massive addiction to tobacco, the continuation of climate change, death and disfiguration from forever chemicals, ovarian cancer and mesothelioma from undisclosed exposure to asbestos, or selling ‘health products’ that claim to cure everything under the sun, but can “interfere with clinical lab tests, such as those used to diagnose heart attacks”.

Please do not confuse this for saying that companies shouldn’t be able to sell things and make a profit. If you want to sell someone something that kills them if they misuse it and you market it as such, you go for it. That’s literally how every product in the cleaning aisle of your grocery store works. That’s how guns work, that’s how fertilizers work, that’s why we have labels. But manipulation for profit is unethical, and that’s why companies hide it. It hurts their bottom line. They know that their products will not be used if they reveal the truth. Instead of doing something good for humanity, they choose the subterfuge. Profits over people. Profits over Earth honestly. Profits over continuing the human race. Absolutely nothing matters to companies like this. And unethical developers enable this.


Facebook (ok, fine, Meta, still going to refer to them as FB though) is trying to join the Fediverse. We as a community, but honestly each of you as individuals, have a decision to make. Do they stay or do they go? Let’s put some information on the table.

Facebook…

  • lies about the amount of misinformation it removes [1]
  • increased censorship of ‘anti-state’ posts [1:1] [2] [3]
  • lied to Congress about social networks polarizing people, while FB’s own researchers found that they do [2:1]
  • attempted to attract preteens to the platform (huh, wonder where all that “you must be 13” stuff went) [4]
  • rewards outrage and discord [3:1][5]

Facebook also…

  • Allows for checking on friends and family in disasters [6]
  • Created and maintained some of the most popular open source software on the planet (including the software that runs the interface you’re looking at right now) [7][8]

From my perspective… There’s not much good about FB. It has single handedly caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people across the planet, if not hundreds of thousands. It continually makes people angrier and angrier. It’s a launching pad for scammers, thieves, malevolent malefactors, manipulators, dictators, to push their conquests onto the world through manipulation, lies, tricks, and deceit. Its algorithms foster an echo chamber effect, exacerbating division and animosity, making civil discourse and mutual understanding all but impossible. Instead of being a platform for connection, it often serves as a catalyst for discord and misinformation. FB’s propensity for prioritizing user engagement over factual accuracy has resulted in a global maelstrom of confusion and mistrust. Innocent minds are drawn into this vortex, manipulated by fear and falsehoods, consequently promoting harmful actions and beliefs. Despite its potential to be a tool for good, it is more frequently wielded as a weapon, sharpened by unscrupulous entities exploiting its vast reach and influence. The promise of a globally connected community seems to be overshadowed by its darker realities.


As a person, I believe that we need to choose things as a community. I do not believe in the ‘BDFL’…the Benevolent Dictator For Life. Graydon Hoare, creator of Rust, wrote an article just recently about how things would have been different if they had stayed BDFL of Rust. From my position the BDFLs we currently have on this planet really suck. Not just politically, but even in tech. I don’t think that path is good for society. It might work in specific circumstances, but it usually fails, and when it does, people get hurt. Badly.

So, with that in mind, I’ve been working on a polling feature for Lemmy. I seriously doubt I’ll be done with it soon, but hopefully FB takes a while longer to implement federation. I understand there’s a desire for me, or the other admins to just make a decision, but I really don’t like doing that. If it comes down to it, I will implement defederation to start with, but I will still be holding a vote as soon as I can get this damn feature done.



  1. http://web.archive.org/web/20220120004921/https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/10/25/what-are-the-facebook-papers/ ↩︎ ↩︎

  2. http://web.archive.org/web/20220119204203/https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/10/25/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-whistleblower/ ↩︎ ↩︎

  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20181016003104/https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/15/technology/myanmar-facebook-genocide.html ↩︎ ↩︎

  4. https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-instagram-kids-tweens-attract-11632849667?mod=article_inline ↩︎

  5. https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-algorithm-change-zuckerberg-11631654215?mod=article_inline ↩︎

  6. https://www.facebook.com/about/crisisresponse/ ↩︎

  7. https://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/2021/10/18/peeking-behind-the-scenes-of-facebook-open-source/ ↩︎

  8. the website actually uses Inferno, but from what I can tell it was forked directly from React, judging from the actually documentation and references in the repo. ↩︎

  • @[email protected]
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    8 months ago

    Great read and I love the angle you’re taking, having the community vote for it is a great idea even if the answer is fairly predictable. Hope other instance admins follow suit.

    but hopefully FB takes a while longer to implement federation.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Companies are pretty slow to implement big changes, and when they do federate I doubt they’ll initially federate with anything other than major mastodon instances and test the waters.

  • @shagie
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    deleted by creator

    • @DolceTriade
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      58 months ago

      Well put. The fediverse will only go as far as its moderation tools since users will always go to whichever instance/site that has the content that they want.

  • @BravoVictor
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    248 months ago

    FWIW: I see no reason to federate with Threads/Meta/FB. We can always change our minds later.

    My hope will be that users of Threads will end up learning about federation/activity pub in general, then become curious about other instances. I’m the early nineties, many people thought AOL was the internet. It was the intro to the internet, for many, many people who moved on to finding all other kinds of wonderful stuff out there. No reason it couldn’t happen that way.

    • Feyter
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      48 months ago

      And I’m on the other side thinking I don’t see any reason to defederate threads just because it is run by Meta. We always can change our minds later.

      I think we should see threads just as another instance of a new service. If we see that this instance is not playing well we defederate them. So same rules applied to all.

      There are still good people on Facebook/Instagram how just never heard about Lemmy, mastodon and the Fendiverse. And even if Threads or other meta platforms will implement activity pup but no real Fendiverse services will allow federation with them those people will still never get in touch with us because they never interact with us.

      Just knowing about activity pup exists will not change this. Most of those people don’t have a tech background like we have and are therefore less interested in finding out what that stuff is. They will probably assume that this is some meta think to connect to other services of Meta.

      I say letting federation open so people can see and find stuff from the Fedivers in meta Services and give people so maybe even the possibility to move from threads to mastodon (or Lemmy although I think this is less comparable to any meta service) will put much more pressure on meta then it will put on us.

      If we defederate a few months after (because of any valid reason) this we’ll be seen by much more people even on the meta side and the impact of this will be much greater. So meta will be willing to make fedivers happy (or at least less angry?). This gives the power back to us, the people. They will care about us because they are depending on us, at least to an extent. That’s what the fedivers was created for I thought.

      • @tatterdemalion
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        98 months ago

        I don’t see any reason to defederate threads just because it is run by Meta

        Then you didn’t read the links posted in the OP.

        • @railsdev
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          deleted by creator

        • Feyter
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          -38 months ago

          Actually I read it. I just don’t find it true what was written in the second article.

          XMPP and the existing Fendiverse is a completely different situation. Why should the Fedivers loos anything by federating with meta? How should that work? The worst case scenario if we federate with meta is that we go back to where we are now.

          The panic that is correctly happening because of all this is much worst then what ever meta could do. IMHO

          • @tatterdemalion
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            78 months ago

            Sorry for making an assumption then. I just didn’t see you address any of the problems stated in those articles.

            • Remy
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              18 months ago

              yep

            • Feyter
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              Because I don’t see issues there that needs to be addressed. Maybe I missed it or just don’t understand it.

              The first one is an article from Eugan (Gargron) why meta will not be able to push you Adds or get your personal network data even if an mastodon instance is federating with them.

              The second is a (very opiniated and polarizing) how evil companies “killed” open social technologies in the past… Despite the fact that XMPP is not dead. So I really don’t get what should be the problems after all.

              EDIT: So many spelling errors in there… I’m sorry for that.

              • jadero
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                68 months ago

                I agree with you. Everything I’ve read makes the assumption that we can do nothing in the face of “embrace, extend, extinguish.” Anyone who has ever played a multiplayer game of any kind knows that a new strategy can be devastating, but only the first time.

                But now we know about that strategy and it has an inherent weakness. “Extend” is only a problem if we as developers, admins, and users accept extensions uncritically. If “extend” is on the critical path to “extinguish,” then we can interrupt the process by not accepting or not becoming dependent on extensions that put the Fediverse at risk, no matter who proposes or implements them.

                In my opinion, the worst that can happen is that we ultimately find it necessary to defederate from Meta. If that splits social graphs, well, for anyone currently using a Meta property, that is where we are now.

  • @pythonoob
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    8 months ago

    I am all in favor of defederating from Facebook. Seriously, fuck them. They are a scourge on our culture and civilization.

  • @AdmiralShat
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    198 months ago

    If I want to view content posted to FaceBook, they already have websites I can go to.

    I personally would prefer defederation with any major corporate owned sites that attempt the use this technology.

  • @gilly3
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    178 months ago

    This part stood out to me:

    … required to accept a license which forbid you to implement those extensions. As soon as you clicked “OK”, you could not work on any open source version of Kerberos. The goal was explicitly to kill any competing networking project

    Could we not use this same tactic? I would love to see a Terms of Use drafted that requires federation participants to fully support the project. It could prohibit partial implementations, especially if extensions to the standard were being added before fully supporting the standard. Actions that seem to use embrace, extend, extinguish tactics could be explicitly called out and forbidden.

    • Trantarius
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      78 months ago

      That’s kind of what GPL tries to do. It stipulates that any derivative must also be open source. However, no license can be truly effective at preventing corporations from using it without blocking legitimate uses too. Even GPL doesn’t prevent EEE, since they could just make the extensions proprietary (as long as they are not outright modifications of the original source). Even if the extensions aren’t proprietary, they could depend on servers that are. A license that doesn’t allow extensions or forks would defeat the whole purpose of being open source, so that’s not an option. The only way to stop them from using it would be to specifically exclude them and anybody else making over $X a year (from any source, since they can just lose money on threads until EEE is complete). But that would also exclude any fair implementation that just happens to be profitable. It would also make complying with the license more complicated, so people will switch to an alternative with a more permissive license anyway.

      • JackbyDev
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        18 months ago

        This is what SSPL was attempting to solve (to an extent).

    • snoweOPMA
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      68 months ago

      I’m sure we could, but I don’t have the money to defend that in court, and I doubt even if every user here funded the lawsuit would we be able to take on FB in court.

    • @shagie
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      deleted by creator

  • Ramune
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    158 months ago

    Since we have vision of the absolute count of up and down votes, can’t we just use that as the voting mechanism for now, like how Reddit mods did during protests and how other Lemmy instances are doing now for their own votes to defederate Threads? It’s not like this poll has more than 2 options.

    • AtegonMA
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      198 months ago

      The issue with using upvotes as a voting mechanism is they can be easily faked due to federation. Someone can just whip up an instance with 200 accounts and mass upvote one of the options

      • Ramune
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        8 months ago

        Ah that’s fair. However how will that be different with a proper polling feature? Will it have the capability to be locked to instance/community members only?

        • AtegonMA
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          Since snowe is the one building it they would be the one able to give more specifics but since the instance itself is the one building it we have more control over adapting it specifically for polling and stopping bad actors in the context of polling rather than tacking some stuff onto upvotes.

          Edit: Deleted the last sentence I wrote and rewrote it here. It will be possible to limit it to instance members only (since we can just not make the feature federate) but it shouldn’t need to come to that and it can be tracked what instances has people voting to catch outliers while still allowing active people in this instance with accounts on some others have a say. Again though thats just my thoughts on the polling but im not the one building it

          • snoweOPMA
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            68 months ago

            This is along the lines of what I’ve been thinking, but I’m actually trying to build in several mechanisms of control. If you want it to federate, if you want to limit it in different ways, etc.

      • ruffsl
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        8 months ago

        Seems like votes are public, thus auditable for instance of origin, vote manipulation and brigading:

        Although, support for more capable polling features would still be preferable.

  • @MagicShel
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    148 months ago

    It feels almost like a moot point. With such a huge user-base, Threads is going to get defederated just because there will be a bunch of assholes with insufficient moderation and the volume will be too high to block each and every one of them individually. I think a single, giant instance is the antithesis of federation. I don’t feel like Threads must be defederated, but it feels inevitable.

    There is another side to consider. If Threads is ad-filled garbage and the fedi-verse offers an easy path to migrate to ad-free networks, I’m all for it. But also with scale comes all the commercial shit. Not just ads, but self-promotion, monetization, malicious use, etc. I’m a lot more worried about this huge user-base being dumped on an unprepared fedi-verse.

  • @nymeria
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    138 months ago

    I think we should federate meta (look like I am the only one). For once they make a choice of being open, it’s a good opportunity to seize. It will bring light to decentralized internet with tons of users, fediverse will become active.

    Please, for once, I hope those IT hyppie will open their mind

    • I Cast Fist
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      138 months ago

      Do we actually want the activity they will bring? Influencers and corporations alone are things i’d rather avoid

      • @[email protected]
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        8 months ago

        While I agree in the sense that influencers and greedy corps are less than desirable I also believe that the internet as a whole is better federated. Even if that includes bringing in the bullshit. With individually owned instances the users have better control in general. I don’t agree with hoping certain types will stay away. I’d rather the entire social mediasphere (is that a word?) turn into a decentralized network of social media. Join instances you believe will maintain your core values and what you’d like to see. I am personally trying to be selective about the Instance(s) I use and hoping that’ll ultimately reshape my social media experience for the better. Everyone, including annoying influencers should get that opportunity as well.

        • @tatterdemalion
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          38 months ago

          Join instances you believe will maintain your core values and what you’d like to see

          So that is exactly what is happening here. programming.dev users are trying to vote for their core values. It seems that our core values include “fuck Facebook” so that’s probably how the vote will go on programming.dev. This decision only affects programming.dev, and you can leave if you don’t like it.

          Side note: I know the “leave if you don’t like it” sentiment is very conservative-sounding when in the context of e.g. choosing a state to live in, but the situation is entirely different when it’s as simple as making a new account. No doubt some people might be upset by decisions made by their instance admins, but that’s just unavoidable, and part of the game of trying to choose your “home instance.” If you want to be exposed to Threads content, then undoubtedly there will be at least one instance that federates.

      • @nymeria
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        38 months ago

        well, you have a point here. Not all activities are good

    • @lowleveldata
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      128 months ago

      To seize what exactly? Fediverse is active in its current state. I don’t think we need to grow fast at any cost

      • @astral_avocado
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        Barely active, a 100 upvotes and ten comments on most posts isn’t sustainable and won’t attract interest from niche communities who can just make a discord/subreddit/threads page. Attracting the masses is how reddit got where they were, and while they birthed /r/dankmemes and /r/whitepeopletwitter, it also made it popular enough to have an active subreddit for almost literally every niche interest hobby and game you could imagine.

      • @nymeria
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        18 months ago

        well, seoze the opportunity to free the world instead of always complaining about people don’t want it

  • @philm
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    108 months ago

    I mean I haven’t actually read many pro-federation posts (and all are downvoted), so… just go with defederation?

    I’m also against federating, I seriously don’t trust these big tech-corporate, they all just want to make money by using our data and especially FB promotes the decay of society (as you have already mentioned). I don’t think they want to create any good in the fediverse, there are articles that suggest that they want to destroy the fediverse. I’m not sure about this either, but I don’t think they promote the decentralization of social media for obvious reasons (which is the fediverse all about).

  • @beepingcities
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    88 months ago

    Normal people, and society in general, are often scary and reckless with their use of technology. Like, they expect it to single-handedly solve all problems, or they expect evil scientists to doom us all, or they take technologies which are in reality designed by highly intelligent and well-intentioned people to be part and parcel of a plot to turn us all into slaves or kill us all, or they fall for scammers using technobabble. Normal people mostly don’t know about FOSS or have a firm grasp on the ethics or the practical consequences that computer technology has on society.

    Facebook, while it is a technology company and therefore it knows more about technology, is also a part of normal society, it has some of the scary recklessness of normal people with regards to technology, and it is likely to interact with very large numbers of non-technical people. That unpredictability does not seem to be favorable to a small platform like programming.dev - this site’s probably pretty fragile to other people making rash decisions with technology. I don’t know the details, but I imagine things are better, but maybe not better enough for other, larger Lemmy instances, due to limitations on developer time. If a small part of a big company decides to start making problems, they might be able to cause big problems.

    I don’t see a way to dramatically tilt the odds of that unpredictability being a positive thing in favor of this site or FOSS as a whole by integrating with them - it doesn’t seem to grant Lemmy instances any leverage over them. Their goodwill is of dubious value - they were already likely to try to roll over Lemmy if it ever seemed to them to be convenient for them, which it very easily could become, and giving instances the option of defederating doesn’t seem like it should upset them too too much or give them a cover to do mean things to mess up the platform.

    So yes, I’m pro-defederation.

    I expect people will wonder where I’m coming from with this huge block of text, because I think people tend to assume that when people use a lot of words, they either know a lot, are an idiot, or are trying to trick them. I’d say that this is situation fits none of those three categories. I think a lot about stuff like computer ethics, so that’s why I’m being so wordy about this - but I’m not speaking out of practical experience. My experience is talking with mostly non-technical family, reading the news, reading r/programming before the blackout and programming.dev now, trying to get into programming and mostly failing due to lack of mental energy, and thinking about technology a lot in my free time.

  • recursive_recursion [they/them]A
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    78 months ago

    for my vote I’d say that defederating any non-FOSS instance, chat service, community is the way to go.

    To endorse or collaborate with any zero-sum systems seems like a terrible decision for fediverse projects/instances to take

  • jadero
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    58 months ago

    Regarding https://ploum.net/2023-06-23-how-to-kill-decentralised-networks.html

    I think it’s important to note one major difference between those historical events and today. There were no platforms with the reach of Meta at the time, today we have, well Meta (and Twitter, etc)

    What that means is that it is longer possible to really capture our personal social graph. If we are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever right now, then we’ve already partitioned our own social graph for personal reasons.

    If you are not on those platforms, then there is no social graph to capture except as members choose to disconnect from us.

    My reading of https://blog.joinmastodon.org/2023/07/what-to-know-about-threads/ suggests that the writer is not terribly concerned about the presence of Meta.

    Anyone who recognizes my username or who digs through what I’ve written knows that I’ve gone back and forth on this.

    I completely understand the various motivations for defederation and in my heart of hearts would love to just flip them the bird. I also have concerns over the ultimate outcome. But my concern is less over whether accepting Meta is ultimately detrimental, showing that the Fediverse cannot withstand “attack”, than over whether rejecting them prevents the Fediverse from bringing them to heel.

  • @dabe
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    38 months ago

    Great read, and I love all the sources/links. Looking forward to see how this evolves!

  • @Mikina
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    For me, the main issue is that I simply don’t want to spoon-feed them data about my behavior, or give them my content to monetize on their platform as they see fit. I’m certain that if they ever implement something like subscription to communities on Lemmy, or a Frontpage or All, they will do so with their own algorithms that decide what content you see (* see edit below) - algorithms that are designed to manipulate with people, backed by a ML model that has unimaginable amount of data from FB and IG to train on, and 3 billion users to learn and experiment on to further be better at showing you the right personalized posts that keep you glued to their apps for as long as possible, no matter how unhealthy it may be or how it changes you for the worse.

    While I understand that my content personally, or the whole of Lemmy isn’t going to make a dent in the data they already have to work with, I still don’t what to have anything to do with it, and I would be pretty sad if we’ve let them exploit Fediverse in such a way.

    EDIT: Now that I think about it, I’m actually not sure if that’s how ActivityPub works - from what I assume (and please correct me if I’m wrong), it’s just a protocol that allows servers to query different instances for their content, but the content is then shown on that instance - so the frontend and the way the content is shown is decided solely by the instance owner, just as I use https://programming.dev/c/[email protected] if I want to see content from Lemmy.ml, and nothing is stopping programming.dev to have a different interface altogether, or show me the posts in whatever order they see fit. In the same way, if Mastodon wanted to let their users access Lemmy posts, all they would need is to query Lemmy instance for data using standartized ActivityPub API (what data actually? I need to finally read up on ActivityPub.) about the posts the user wants to see, and then implement frontend for that data. And if Mastodon user comments on something, it just sends the comment back to the Lemmy instance - using ActivityPub.

    Is this correct? Or is there some kind of SSO involved in ActivityPub, so all of my Fediverse interaction isn’t limited - and directed by - my home instance only? That’s something I’m not really clear on, case my whole assumption about ActivityPub is based on random mentions here and there from comments around here.

    • CommunityLinkFixerBotB
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      38 months ago

      Hi there! Looks like you linked to a Lemmy community using an URL instead of its name, which doesn’t work well for people on different instances. Try fixing it like this: [email protected]

    • @troy
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      18 months ago

      Your data/content is public on Lemmy, FB would have no problem fetching it.

      Your edit is correct. SSO not required.