Mark Zuckerberg embraces the Fediverse as Elon Musk’s social media empire shows decline

The NFT Unicorn 5c6d8487-dad8-437a-808f-01c41e939d72 Mark Zuckerberg embraces the Fediverse as Elon Musk’s social media empire shows decline Crypto News

Meta’s Instagram and Threads have joined a group of social media platforms called the Fediverse. Essentially a federation of independent platforms, the Fediverse allows users on different servers to communicate with one another. 

While pundits and analysts are still debating the reasons behind the move, Meta says it was in line with its commitment to decentralization and privacy. A claim that can be somewhat substantiated by the current business climate.

The $200 billion elephant in the room

Threads is Meta’s answer to microblogging, a short-form media-sharing paradigm where users post and interact with easily digestible snippets of content. X is the undoubted leader in the space, with approximately 335 million monthly users in 2024.

However, that number doesn’t tell the whole story. When Elon Musk purchased X for $44 billion in October 2022, the social media site had approximately 368 million monthly users. That indicates a decline of 33 million users, or about 10% of the total user count.

Much of this has been attributed to churn over the perceived polarization of X via Musk’s increased presence. Millions of people celebrated the purchase as, in their view, a win for so-called “internet free speech,” while others fled X over what they considered a right wing takeover of the world’s most popular microblogging platform.

Fediverse and the future

Many of those who fled the site propped up decentralized offerings in the Fediverse — such as Mastodon, Pleroma and Misskey — as destinations for those fleeing Twitter and its new management.

As it stands, X remains the most popular microblogging site by a far stretch, but it also exists in a state of evident decline. Both revenues and user counts are down year over year since Musk’s takeover. Although user count did see a brief bump in 2023, the subsequent decline has wiped out those gains.

Threads, on the other hand, seemingly has nowhere to go but up. It currently has about 130 million active monthly users.

Meta’s latest announcement that Threads and Instagram would both be joining the Fediverse could be seen as a move to counter Musk and X’s continuing trend towards centralization.

Musk, the world’s richest (or second richest, depending on any given day’s market movement) person, has often stated that his intent with X was to build an “everything app” where users would communicate, monetize media, conduct financial transactions, and host their personal and professional brands.

The Fediverse, on the other hand, is a suite of decentralized protocols allowing native third-party integration and, as Meta pointed out in its recent blog post, giving users control over their data:

“One way to think about the fediverse is to compare it to email. You can send an email from a Gmail account to a Yahoo account, for example, because those services support the same protocols. Similarly, in the fediverse you can connect with people who use different social networking services that are built on the same protocol, removing the silos that confine people and their followers to any single platform. But unlike email, your fediverse conversations and profile are public and can be shared across servers.”

As users continue to trickle away from Musk’s centralized Big Tech offering, the X “everything app,” decentralized offerings such as Mastodon offer a different lease on the idea of microblogging. And, arguably, the addition of Threads and Instagram brings with it a potential level of user activity previously unseen in the Fediverse.

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