The BBC has embraced ActivityPub, nice work @[email protected]! I’ve always thought that the long term advantage from a commercial and brand point of view is to be able to say “follow us” and the words that follow are your own brand and your own network.
The power of Mastodon, ActivityPub, the Fediverse, means that the BBC can be on Mastodon, and someone else can be on a completely different platform that supports ActivityPub (like Threads or Micro.blog for example) and you can follow them. For example this very blog, because it’s hosted on Micro.blog means you can follow @[email protected] on your favourite ActivityPub service, like Mastodon, Threads/Tumblr/Flickr one day soon, Pixelfed, or maybe even X if Leon gets his head right, and you can read the blog there. Even WordPress has an official ActivityPub plugin now!
In fact I could imagine that sometime in the future there’ll be a new service that perhaps is more suited to a broadcaster like the BBC and they can transition from Mastodon to it, yet the social graph remains.
When brands and companies operate their own Fediverse instances you can get the updates from your electricity company, you can follow your celebrity or known-person-that-is-a-cool-person and they all get to control their brand and their experience. Instead of mess like this and this.
They are not at Twitter’s, X’s, Meta’s, Google’s or my mercy.
They also are not at the whim of a verification service that is either a secret black box experience, or thousands of dollars a month.
We’re using social.bbc as the domain, so you can be sure these accounts are genuinely from the BBC.
This is the social media future I’d like to see. Where following someone or something is as simple as sending and receiving email.
As a large, high profile, public service organisation, we’ve had to work through a fair number of issues to get this far and we’ve had advice and support from several teams across the BBC. Explaining the federated model can be a challenge as people are much more familiar with the centralised model of ownership. We’ve had to answer questions like “Are we running our own social network?” (well, we’re kind of hosting a small section of a social network) and “Are we hosting a user’s content?” (well, we don’t allow users to create accounts or post from our server, but they can reply to our posts from their own servers, and then their posts will appear next to ours and then they might be stored on our server and it all gets quite complicated).
Does ActivityPub and the Fediverse have issues? Yes. Should that stop us from moving forward and trying to figure it all out? No.