Account Portability in the Social Web

Reposted Account portability in the social web — underlap by underlap.

…In an interoperable world, users want to be able to move between providers with minimal friction to avoid “lock-in”…

…ActivityPub is the protocol that underpins the Fediverse (Mastodon, Pixelfed, PeerTube, etc.). It does not provide direct support for account portability… It will be fascinating to see to what extent, if at all, interoperation with the Fediverse by Meta’s Threads will include account portability…

…Efforts to build account portability on top of ActivityPub fall into three categories: abstracting identity, improving account migration, and migrating content…

This is a really great article that discusses some of the things that are missing from ActivityPub in order to make the fediverse experience truly portable and some ongoing works in progress. A couple of observations that made me think:

Noone besides BlueSky has implemented the AT protocol yet. Given that its an open protocol, I’m surprised that nobody’s at least tinkering with something in this vain.

Secondly, I really like the idea of DNS-based identity for identity provenance. That said, the majority of web users don’t own their own domain so this might not scale well at all.

Finally, I noticed that @hcj has commented on the post to say that when moving to FireFish you can also take your posts with you – something that Mastodon doesn’t currently support.

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  • glyn

4 responses to “Account Portability in the Social Web”

  1. glyn avatar

    @jamesravey Subdomains can have their own DNS records, so it would be a straightforward business opportunity to rent out thousands of subdomains cheaply and provide a web UI. It would probably need to be done by a non-profit or public body with sustainable backing for it to endure.

    1. Dr James Ravenscroft avatar

      @underlap @[email protected] that's a great point actually and how blogger/Tumblr type apps work! I suppose as you say it'd be important for the user to trust their provider as I guess in this model their domain/subdomain is semi-permanent (like your phone number) – if you're not holding an ICANN registered domain but just a subdomain you could be building on sand!

  2. glyn

    @jamesravey Thanks James. Nice to get some proper interaction!

  3. Dr James Ravenscroft

    @underlap nice to have time to be able to write back properly tbh in the festive betwixt time!

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