Blocking threads seems pointless, even if Meta is an asshole

In the recent weeks Meta has been testing Threads' integration into the #fediverse and it has been causing quite the stir. Truth be told they have been saying they would do exactly that for a while. Though previously it could have been written off as a buzzword to appease shareholders and put off what appears to be the slow decline of the Meta stock price.

The response of many instances has been to defederate with Threads. I dislike Meta. I also dislike #Threads even more then other #Meta projects. But I personally believe blocking threads is not the right decision.

Blocking threads runs counter to the idea of the fediverse. The intention of it is to interact with other servers of various kinds. Having cliques which determine who is and is not allowed to federate pushes the fediverse to a Musk or Zuckerberg situation with extra steps. It also pushes other projects away from the fediverse who also may have otherwise considered integrating prior to such a hostile response.

There have been three arguments I have heard against federation with Threads which are understandable. First is the fear that Threads will use the embrace and extinguish model to overtake activity pub. It is reasonable to be afraid of this and something all too familiar in other examples of federation like the XMPP chat protocol and Google Chat.

Unlike XMPP where Google Chat had the overwhelmingly larger user base, activity pub is more diverse. Though Threads is the largest they don't have the overwhelmingly large enough numbers to dictate a change and force other platforms to comply or die out. A quick search that I cannot guarantee the accuracy of puts the daily active users of the following activity pub platforms near:

Mastodon: 1.8 Million

Threads: 28 Million

Truth Social 5 Million

Gab: 100 thousand

Threads does have the furthest user base by far. There are other user bases, however, and because of their size and because they have already existed prior to Threads in the event Meta were to try to change the way they implement the protocol it would likely only serve to immediately cut them off from other communities. The gap will likely continue to shrink as other implementations of activity pub crop up and as the fediverse likely continues to grow.

Aside from fears of the size of Threads the second fear I heard is the fear that they will collect data and serve ads. It would be next to impossible to serve ads to people on other servers and there is no indication they will try to do something like that. It is also no harder to collect your data with or without federation.

Last is the fear of the fediverse being flooded with people. Thing is those will be/are normal people. Meta might be a pain, but normal everyday people use Threads and many of them would probably be a fine addition to the fediverse. Besides it wouldn't be a good first impression if your entrance to the fediverse is a bunch of people who dislike you being there for what seems to be no good reason.

For these reasons I believe threads should be federated with now and only defederated later on if they do something to the fediverse that causes them to be a bad digital neighbor. Stay tuned for my likely coming rant on why I dislike Threads as a platform and their federation model.

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