Tumblr will add support for ActivityPub, an open, decentralized social networking protocol that is now powering Twitter alternative Mastodon, Instagram-like Pixelfed, video streaming service PeerTube, and more. The news was revealed in response to complaints from Twitter users about the complexity of Mastodon. Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg — whose company acquired Tumblr from Verizon in 2019 — Suggest Users “come to Tumblr” because the site will soon “add activitypub for interconnection”.
“Don’t be nervous,” he said earlier clarify Tumblr first has to deal with the wave of new users now coming from Twitter, but support for “interop and activitypub” will come “as soon as possible”.
In short, this announcement means that Tumblr will transform from a niche blogging platform to part of a larger, decentralized social network — and as people flee Elon Musk’s Twitter in search, its A new community whose user base has been expanding in recent days.
Its website explains that the ActivityPub protocol provides a client-to-server API for creating, updating, and deleting content, and a federated server-to-server API for delivering notifications and subscribing to content. In practice, this means that Mastodon users can interact and follow users on other instances (nodes running independently) and other social applications (such as PeerTube), which also support the implementation of ActivityPub. It creates a social networking network where users can find and follow each other without setting up new accounts on each new service.
This is in contrast to today’s “walled garden” social networks, where posts on one platform cannot be viewed by people on other platforms unless you directly reupload or republish the content, or share a link to another site. content.
If Tumblr were to add ActivityPub support, it would mean that users on Mastodon could follow Tumblr users’ posts from their own Mastodon instance — without using the Tumblr app. It could also provide Tumblr users with an entry point into the so-called fediverse without having to face some of the complexities involved with signing up for Mastodon for the first time.
As data.ai reported earlier this month, Tumblr has benefited from Twitter’s pullback, with its U.S. app installs growing 7% each week from the week before the acquisition and in the seven days following the acquisition. And, Sensor Tower said recently, Tumblr’s global downloads jumped 77% to 301,000 in the 12 days after Twitter was acquired, up from 170,000 in the 12 days before the acquisition.
Mullenweg later offered a glimpse into Tumblr’s metrics, noting to The Atlantic that iOS downloads of the Tumblr app jumped 62% in the week after Musk took over Twitter.
But even before Musk took the helm, Mullenweg had been thinking about how Tumblr could better compete with Twitter in the future.
“I just want an open alternative, I want you to be able to choose your algorithm…we’re trying to make Tumblr a space for art and artists…” he said earlier this year, where “you” you’re not In the reels, but in the reels of joy. “
More recently, Mullenweg has been trying to directly recruit ex-Twitter employees to work at Automattic, and has set up a dedicated website for the purpose.
We should note that Automattic already has some experience with ActivityPub.
In addition to Tumblr, Automattic also operates the blogging service WordPress.com and contributes to the open source WordPress blogging software platform. The latter today offers an ActivityPub plugin for self-hosted WordPress sites. This allows WordPress blog readers to follow their posts on Mastodon and other syndicated social platforms. One can imagine a similar scenario for Tumblr if ActivitiyPub support is added.
Mullenweg didn’t provide an ETA on how this support will be added “as soon as possible.”
Tumblr was not immediately available for comment when reached.