Meta just showed off Threads’ fediverse integration for the very first time

Threads is coming to the fediverse — and we just got our first official look at how that might work from Meta itself. During the FediForum conference on Tuesday, Meta’s Peter Cottle showed off a brief demo of how users will eventually be able to connect their accounts and posts to the fediverse. The integration will let users share their posts across different platforms through Threads, letting them reach multiple audiences at once. Meta is just one of the many platforms aiming to join the fediverse, a group of decentralized social networks aiming to become interoperable with one another.

As you can see in the video below, which FediForum shared with The Verge, Cottle can navigate to his Threads account settings and toggle on an option called “fediverse sharing.” Meta will then show a pop-up explaining what exactly the fediverse is, along with some disclaimers Meta will flag to users so they know what they’re getting into.

First, Meta notes that users will need to have a public profile to toggle on the feature, something Instagram head Adam Mosseri has already mentioned. Users in the current alpha test also can’t view replies to their posts and can only see the likes they get. Cottle says Meta is working “super hard” on changing that.

Additionally, Meta warns that Threads can’t “guarantee” that a post gets deleted on other linked platforms if a user decides to delete it on Threads. In other words, your post may still be visible on, say, a linked Mastodon server, even if you decide to delete it with Threads.

“I think this is a downside of the protocol that we use today, but I think it’s important to let people know that if you post something and another server grabs a copy, we can’t necessarily enforce it,” Cottle says.

Once fediverse sharing is enabled, users will be able to post to other services that interoperate through ActivityPub. Cottle says Threads will “wait five minutes” before sending posts out into the fediverse, during which users have a chance to edit or delete their post. If a Threads user has fediverse sharing enabled, their profiles will display a “pill” icon that other users can click into to copy their fediverse usernames.

Cottle demonstrated the process of using Threads to post to the fediverse, and you can already see how his post federated out to Mastodon.

“I know there’s a ton of skepticism about Meta entering the fediverse — it’s completely understandable,” Cottle says. “I do want to kind of make a plea that I think everyone on the team has really good intentions. We really want to be a good member of the community and give people the ability to experience what the fediverse is.”

The FediForum is an online event that gives developers the opportunity to show off what they’re working on in the fediverse. “It’s good for them, and it’s good for the rest of us to see what they’re up to,” Johannes Ernst, one of FediForum’s co-founders, tells The Verge. “They’re being transparent about what they’re building and why.”

Threads started testing an ActivityPub integration last year, and Mosseri suggested last December that Threads’ plans for the fediverse could take “the better part of a year” to pan out. Earlier this month, Threads gave Evan Prodromou, one of the creators of the ActivityPub protocol, the ability to post on both Threads and Mastodon. Threads also plans on letting users follow non-Threads fediverse accounts and letting creators take their followers with them to another platform.

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