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Tumblr To Support ActivityPub, Powering Mastodon & Other Apps

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Tumblr To Support ActivityPub, Powering Mastodon & Other Apps

(CTN NEWS) – Tumblr will now support ActivityPub, the open, decentralized social networking protocol that already powers social networking services like Mastodon, a competitor to Twitter, Pixelfed, PeerTube, and others.

The news was made public in response to a Twitter user’s criticism of Mastodon’s complexity.

The site would soon “include activitypub for connection,” stated Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg, whose business purchased Tumblr from Verizon in 2019.

“Don’t stress”, he said before adding that support for “interop and activitypub” would be “ASAP,” but that Tumblr must first deal with the influx of new users from Twitter.

As a result of this news, Tumblr will no longer be restricted to serving as a niche blogging platform but will instead join a wider, decentralized social network.

This network has seen a recent increase in users as people leave Elon Musk’s Twitter in search of new communities.

The ActivityPub protocol offers a client-to-server API for adding, editing, and deleting material and a federal server-to-server API for sending notifications and subscribing to content, according to the standard’s website.

This effectively allows Mastodon users to communicate with and follow users on other instances (independently operated nodes) and on other social media platforms (like PeerTube), enabling ActivityPub implementation.

Users can find and follow one another through a web of social networks without having to create separate accounts on every new service.

Today’s “walled garden” social networks take the opposite tack, preventing users from viewing content posted on one platform unless they re-upload it, repost it, or share a link to the content’s location on another website.

Users of Mastodon might follow Tumblr users’ posts from their Mastodon instance without using the Tumblr app if Tumblr added support for ActivityPub.

Additionally, it might provide Tumblr users with a way to join the so-called diverse without dealing with difficulties associated with joining Mastodon for the first time.

According to a report from data.ai earlier this month, Tumblr was already gaining from Twitter’s defection because its U.S. app instals increased by 7% week over a week during the week before the acquisition and the following seven days.

As of 12 days after Twitter acquired Tumblr, downloads increased 77% to 301,000 from 170,000 in the 12 days before the purchase, according to a recent report from Sensor Tower.

Mullenweg later gave The Atlantic a peek inside Tumblr’s statistics, revealing that iOS app downloads had increased by 62% in the week after Musk’s takeover of Twitter.

However, Mullenweg had been considering how Tumblr could more effectively compete with Twitter in the future long before Musk became Twitter’s CEO.

“I only want an open alternative and you to be allowed to select your algorithm…We’re attempting to create an environment on Tumblr where “you’re not room scrolling, you’re joy-scrolling,” he had stated earlier this year.

In recent months, Mullenweg has set up a dedicated website to recruit former Twitter employees for Automattic.

We should point out that Automattic has had prior experience with ActivityPub.

Automattic also manages the blogging platform WordPress.com and contributes to the open-source WordPress blogging software and Tumblr.

The latter now provides an ActivityPub plug-in for self-hosted WordPress sites. This makes it possible for readers of WordPress blogs to follow the postings on Mastodon and other federated social networks.

If ActivitiyPub support was added to Tumblr, one could envision a similar scenario. The way that this support would be added “ASAP” was not specified by Mullenweg.

When contacted, Tumblr was unable to immediately respond with a remark.

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