A hub for the social web

A hub for the social web

The Fediverse has around a million monthly active core users. Increasingly they are connected with millions more as the Fediverse emerges as a hub for the wider social web, giving it significant influence.

Flipboard has federated with the Fediverse, followed by Threads. Other major organisations are lining up. Now, there’s a working two-way bridge to Bluesky, with Nostr to follow. 

Once Threads implements two-way federation, Threads, Bluesky and Nostr users will all be able to interact, via the Fediverse.

Technology that puts values first

At Newsmast we believe this position as a hub gives the Fediverse authority and influence – so values matter – along with the technology to put those principles into practice. Here are a few of the principles we’re following:

Consent and connectivity
The Fediverse is a safe place for people to flee toxic social media. We need to hold on to this. As the hub expands its connections, at the same time we should carve out spaces which prioritise consent above connectivity. Not everyone wants to join “big fedi”, and we should respect that.

Equally as we increase connectivity, it’s essential to double down on moderation – adding more layers, at server level & across the network. The recent issue with spam hitting Bluesky from Nostr, via Mastodon and Bridgy Fed, shows how important this is. FediCheck, FIRES and Bluesky’s composable moderation are all great initiatives. We’re working on this too with Patchwork, our suite of server plug-ins.

People before protocols
We don’t want Fediverse servers to be just nodes or relays. Even if a service runs on ActivityPub, it’s not always right to connect to it. And sometimes to reach interesting people, we’ll need to connect across protocols. 

For us bridging to Bluesky, and next to Nostr, isn’t about shitposters or bitcoiners, but to engage with thoughtful, stimulating people – and there are lots out there. That’s why we’re expanding our contributors, and launching opt-in posts from our Feeds on Bluesky.

We love the patchwork of people, servers and software in the Fediverse. As a hub, we need to maintain centrifugal force, while still holding onto the central point of what we’re doing: building a more ethical social web. 

We need to support diverse servers, and spin users out from the big central servers – ideally through portable identities, in whatever form. We’ve made a start with guest log-in to Newsmast, and we’ll build on this with Patchwork.

Amplify diversity
If trolling is the essence of X, and Elon Musk the ultimate troll, we need to counter this by amplifying diverse voices, and protecting them from equally toxic reply guys. 

A prominent black academic recently left Bluesky after being hounded in her comments, and the same has happened too often in the Fediverse. We need to celebrate and amplify diverse voices and dampen the dunkers. We’d like to expand our Amplifier technology (coming soon) to help with this. 

A hub of technology and values in the social web

The Fediverse has a unique opportunity to act as a hub of technology and values in the wider social web. Equally, we need to respect those who want to stay in smaller, consent-based, safe spaces. Creating this helps the rest of the Fediverse to open up more freely. 

Adding layers of moderation, putting people before protocols, building portable identities and amplifying diverse voices will enable us to influence the bigger networks we connect with, maintaining and growing the unique character and values of the Fediverse. More people deserve to benefit from what everyone has built here, creating a new social web beyond proprietary, predatory, profit-led platforms.

At the Newsmast Foundation we’re excited to play our part in making this happen.

Knowledge for all for good