Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Developer(s)Daniel Supernault[1]
Initial releaseDec 25, 2018; five years ago
Stable release
Written inPHP
Available in44 languages[2]

Pixelfed is a free and open-source image sharing social network service.[3][4] The platform uses a decentralized architecture which is roughly comparable to e-mail providers, meaning user data is not stored on one central server.[5][6] It uses the ActivityPub protocol, allowing users to interact with other social networks within the protocol, such as Mastodon, PeerTube, and Friendica.[7] Pixelfed and other platforms utilizing this protocol are considered to be part of the Fediverse.[8][9]

Much like Mastodon, Pixelfed implements chronological timelines without content manipulation algorithms.[10][11] It also aims to be privacy-focused with no third party analytics or tracking.[12][13] Pixelfed optionally organizes its media by hashtags, geo-tagging and likes based on each server. It also allows audiences to be distinguished in three ways and on a post-by-post basis: followers-only, public, and unlisted. Like several other social platforms, Pixelfed allows accounts to be locked, when followers must be pre-approved by the owner.



Pixelfed has photo sharing features similar to Instagram and is sometimes considered as an "ethical" alternative to Instagram.[14][15][3] Users can post photos, stories and collections via an independent, distributed and federating photo community in the form of connected Pixelfed instances.[16] Posts made in the same Pixelfed instance as the user will appear on Local Feed, while posts from other Fediverse instances will be available on Global Feed. The Home Feed, however, will show posts of followed users. The discover page displays images that may be of interest to users.[17]

Each post allows for a maximum of 10 photos or videos attached.[18] Pixelfed also shares some of Mastodon's features, including an emphasis on discovery feeds and content warnings.[1]

The development of official apps for both Android and iOS is still in progress[19]



Pixelfed supports two-factor authentication via TOTP mobile apps.[20]



NLnet argued in 2020 that the tools and features of Pixelfed make it a "more attractive (and ethical) alternative" to Instagram.[3]

In December 2022, John Voorhees wrote a detailed review of using Pixelfed on iOS, and said "Pixelfed is sort of like a decentralized version of Instagram that has adopted the ActivityPub protocol."[21]

In February 2023, in a detailed review of whether to leave Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the fediverse, Andrew C. Oliver, Columnist for InfoWorld wrote, "Mastodon and Pixelfed feel safer than their non-federated counterparts" and said Pixelfed is the fediverse answer to Instagram. Oliver also said it is early days "in the Pixelfediverse", content is more sparse, but is either more interesting or at least not manipulative.[22] Charlie Sorrel of Lifewire said Pixelfed shows the flexibility of Mastodon, and has the potential to be much better than Twitter because of ActivityPub.[23]

Using Pixelfed has been discussed in books and conference proceedings.[24][25][26][27][28][29][30]

See also



  1. ^ a b Pépin, Guénaël (2018-06-15). "PixelFed, un embryon d'alternative libre à Instagram". www.nextinpact.com (in French). Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  2. ^ "Pixelfed Translations in Crowdin". Retrieved January 5, 2022.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c "Pixelfed". NLnet. 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-09-21. Retrieved 2023-01-19.
  4. ^ Schulman, Ross (2023-02-02). "The Breadth of the Fediverse". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2023-02-12.
  5. ^ Klaus Unterberger (September 7, 2021). The Public Service Media and Public Service Internet Manifesto (Ebook). University of Westminster Press. ISBN 9781914386299. Decentralized federated platforms such as Mastodon, Peertube, or Pixelfed. Those are platform run and built by people, completely open and censorship-resistant. You have communities of people sharing common interests and no-one is profiting from it.
  6. ^ "PixelFed: A potential open-source alternative to Instagram". FOSSLinux. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  7. ^ "Need a Twitter Alternative? Try Mastodon or One of These Other Social Media Networks". PCMAG. Retrieved 2023-02-12.
  8. ^ Kwet (2019-12-20). "Can Twitter Ever Be Decentralized?". Slate.
  9. ^ "Das Fediverse – die bessere Social-Media-Welt?". mobilsicher.de (in German). 2019-11-19. Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  10. ^ Bhavani, Divya Kala (2019-11-26). "Mastodon announces Pixelfed, an open-source alternative to Instagram". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2023-02-12.
  11. ^ "PixelFed: a rede social open source que é uma alternativa ao Instagram". Pplware (in European Portuguese). 2020-07-26. Retrieved 2022-02-19.
  12. ^ Anthony (2019-07-01). "My thoughts on Mastodon and Pixelfed, open source social networks". Diverse Tech Geek. Retrieved 2022-01-05.
  13. ^ Pot (2023-08-12). "How to Move Your Instagram Feed to Pixelfed, the Photo App That Doesn't Track Your Every Move". Wired. Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  14. ^ Fundamental Challenges to Global Peace and Security (Hardcover). Springer. February 5, 2022. p. 152. ISBN 9783030790714. "A single mod can handle most of the load," said Daniel Supernault, the developer for PixelFed and the sole moderator for the flagship instance for the ActivityPub equivalent of Instagram, "We don't get many reports, the latest one on ...
  15. ^ Krasnoff, Barbara (August 2022). "Eight photo-centric social sites that are not Instagram". The Verge.
  16. ^ Berens, Ulrich (2018-11-03). "Pixelfed: Fotos im Fediverse". LUKi e.V. (in German). Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  17. ^ "What is PixelFed - Definition, meaning and examples". 2021-11-16. Retrieved 2022-02-19.
  18. ^ "5 Open Source Alternatives to Social Networks That Preserve Your Privacy". MUO. 12 June 2021. Retrieved January 2, 2022.
  19. ^ "Pixelfed for Android and iOS is in active development". 13 July 2020.
  20. ^ Bhavani, Divya Kala (November 26, 2019). "Mastodon announces Pixelfed, an open-source alternative to Instagram". The Hindu.
  21. ^ "Making ActivityPub Your Social Media Hub for Mastodon and Other Decentralized Services". Retrieved 2023-02-12.
  22. ^ Oliver, Andrew C. (2023-02-20). "Should you leave Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the fediverse?". InfoWorld. Retrieved 2023-02-27.
  23. ^ "Why Mastodon Apps Should Stop Trying to Copy Twitter". Lifewire. Retrieved 2023-02-27.
  24. ^ Zotzmann-Koch, Klaudia (2022-05-11). Easy Ways to Be More Private on the Internet: All you need to know about the Internet and what you can do in under 30 minutes to use it more safely and privacy-friendly (Second ed.). Klaudia Zotzmann-Koch.
  25. ^ Zhou, Wanlei; Mu, Yi (2021-11-02). Advances in Web-Based Learning – ICWL 2021: 20th International Conference, ICWL 2021, Macau, China, November 13–14, 2021, Proceedings. Springer Nature. ISBN 978-3-030-90785-3.
  26. ^ Crossley, Scott; Popescu, Elvira (2022-06-24). Intelligent Tutoring Systems: 18th International Conference, ITS 2022, Bucharest, Romania, June 29 – July 1, 2022, Proceedings. Springer Nature. ISBN 978-3-031-09680-8.
  27. ^ Thomson, Robert; Dancy, Christopher; Pyke, Aryn (2022-09-17). Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Modeling: 15th International Conference, SBP-BRiMS 2022, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, September 20–23, 2022, Proceedings. Springer Nature. ISBN 978-3-031-17114-7.
  28. ^ Minnick, Chris; McCallister, Michael (2023-01-19). Mastodon For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-394-19338-7.
  29. ^ Mahmoudi, Hoda; Allen, Michael H.; Seaman, Kate (2022-02-04). Fundamental Challenges to Global Peace and Security: The Future of Humanity. Springer Nature. ISBN 978-3-030-79072-1.
  30. ^ Laet, Tinne De; Klemke, Roland; Alario-Hoyos, Carlos; Hilliger, Isabel; Ortega-Arranz, Alejandro (2021-09-08). Technology-Enhanced Learning for a Free, Safe, and Sustainable World: 16th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, EC-TEL 2021, Bolzano, Italy, September 20-24, 2021, Proceedings. Springer Nature. ISBN 978-3-030-86436-1.