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Fediverse logo proposal

The Fediverse (a portmanteau of "federation" and "universe") is the ensemble of federated (i.e. interconnected) servers that are used for web publishing (i.e. social networking, microblogging, blogging, or websites) and file hosting, but which, while independently hosted, can communicate with each other. On different servers (instances), users can create so-called identities. These identities are able to communicate over the boundaries of the instances because the software running on the servers supports one or more communication protocols which follow an open standard.[1] As an identity on the fediverse, users are able to post text and other media, or to follow posts by other identities.[2] In some cases, users can even show or share data (video, audio, text, and other files) publicly or to a selected group of identities and allow other identities to edit other users' data (such as a calendar or an address book).


In 2008, the social network identi.ca was founded by Evan Prodromou. He published the software GNU social under a free license (GNU Affero General Public License, AGPL). Besides the server, identi.ca, there were only few other instances, run by persons for their own use. This changed in 2011–12 when identi.ca switched to another software called pump.io. Several new GNU social instances were created. At the same time as GNU social, other projects like Friendica, Hubzilla,[3] Mastodon, and Pleroma[4] integrated the OStatus protocol, thus extending the fediverse.

In the meantime, other communication protocols have evolved which are integrated to different degrees into the platforms. In January 2018, the W3C presented the ActivityPub protocol, aiming to improve the interoperability between the platforms. As of August 2018, this protocol was supported by thirteen platforms (see table below).

Communication protocols used in the fediverse[edit]

Some federated social media platforms and how they interconnect

These communication protocols, which implement open standards, are used in the fediverse:

Fediverse software platforms[edit]

The software spanning the fediverse are all[clarification needed] FOSS. Some of them vaguely resemble Twitter in style (for example, Mastodon, Misskey,[8] GNU social, and Pleroma,[4] which are similar in their microblogging function), while others include more communication and transaction options that are instead comparable to Google+ or Facebook (such as is the case with Friendica and Hubzilla).

The following software platforms span the fediverse by using the listed communication protocols:

Platform Name Type ActivityPub DFRN Diaspora
OStatus Zot
Aardwolf Social network Yes No No No No
Anfora Image hosting In progress [9] No No No No
diaspora* software Social network, Microblogging No[10][11] No Yes No No
distbin Pastebin Yes No No No No
(f. Friendika; orig. Mistpark)
Social network, Microblogging Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Funkwhale[12] Audio, sound hosting Yes No No No No
GNU MediaGoblin file, image, audio, video hosting Proposed [13] No No No No
GNU social
(f. StatusNet; orig. Laconica)
Microblogging Proposed [14] [15] No No Yes No
Honk Social network Yes No No No No
(f. RedMatrix; orig. Friendica-Red)
CMS, Social network, Microblogging, Wiki, Blogging, Image gallery, File hosting Yes No Yes Yes [3] Yes
Kibou Social network, Microblogging Yes No No No No
Lemmy Link Aggregator, Social Network (Based on Reddit) In Progress No No No No
Littr.me Link Aggregator, Social Network In progress No No No No
Mastodon Microblogging Yes [16] No No Dropped [17] No
microblog.pub Microblogging Yes No No No No
Misskey[8] Social network, Microblogging Yes No No No No
Nextcloud File hosting Yes [18] No No No No
Nodetube[19] Video hosting In Progress No No No No
Numaverse Microblogging, ETH blockchain Yes No No No No
Osada (discontinued) Social network, Microblogging Yes No No No Zot/6
PeerPx Image hosting Yes No No No No
PeerTube Video hosting Yes No No No No
Pixelfed[20] Image hosting Yes[21] No No No No
Pleroma Microblogging Yes No No Dropped [22] No
Plume[23] Blogging Yes No No No No
postActiv Microblogging Proposed [24] No No Yes No
Prismo Link-sharing Yes No No No No
Pubcast (f. Metapods) Netcasting Yes No No No No
pump.io Microblogging Proposed [25] No No Dropped [26] No
Read.as Feed reader Yes [27] No No No No
Socialhome Website, Social network, Microblogging Yes No Yes No Proposed[28]
Write.as / WriteFreely Blogging Yes No No No No
Zap Social network, Macroblogging, Image gallery, File hosting Yes No No No Zot/6

Actual spreading[edit]

The statistic service The Federation states for the June 14, 2019 following data about the fediverse. The statistics do not reflect the whole fediverse.[29][30]

  • Number of instances (servers): 5,848
  • Number of identities: 2,946,831
  • Number of posts: 249,268,964
  • Number of comments: 11,648,411

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fed FAQ". Mastodon User Guide. Archived from the original on 2017-04-09.
  2. ^ "What on Earth is the fediverse and why does it matter?". New Atlas.
  3. ^ a b "gnusoc · master / addons". Hubzilla. Framagit. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  4. ^ a b "Pleroma". Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  5. ^ "DFRN2" (PDF). Friendica. Git hub. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  6. ^ Macgirvin, Michael ‘Mike’. "Zot/6". Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  7. ^ "Zot Protocol". Hubzilla. Archived from the original on 2018-08-18. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  8. ^ a b "Misskey". Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  9. ^ "Implement mastodon API endpoints #23". Anfora. Git hub. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  10. ^ diaspora*. "Support ActivityPub #7422". Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  11. ^ diaspora*. "Let's talk about ActivityPub". Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  12. ^ funkwhale. "Funkwhale". Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  13. ^ GNU MediaGoblin. "Move federation code to ActivityPub spec #5503". Archived from the original on 2017-04-11. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  14. ^ GNU social. "Support ActivityPub #256". Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  15. ^ GNU social. "Plugin". Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  16. ^ Mastodon. "ActivityPub support #1557". Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  17. ^ Mastodon. "Release v3.0.0". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  18. ^ Nextcloud. "Nextcloud introduces social features, joins the fediverse". Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  19. ^ mayeaux (2020-02-09), mayeaux/nodetube, retrieved 2020-02-11
  20. ^ Pixelfed. "Pixelfed". Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  21. ^ Pixelfed. "Pixelfed federates now". Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  22. ^ Pleroma. "ostatus removal". Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  23. ^ joinplu.me. "Plume". Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  24. ^ postActiv. "ActivityPub support #97". Archived from the original on 2018-08-18. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  25. ^ pump.io. "ActivityPub support #1241". Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  26. ^ pump.io. "OStatus #8". Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  27. ^ Read.as. "Long-form ActivityPub-enabled reader". Retrieved 2018-08-29.
  28. ^ Robinson, Jason (May 19, 2018). "Implementing Zot".
  29. ^ "Welcome to the new social web". The Federation. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  30. ^ "Instances". The Fediverse Network. Retrieved 2019-06-14.

Further reading[edit]