Mon 19 Jun 2023 8:50PM

Discussion: Support the Anti-Meta Fedi Pact

BV Brian Vaughan Public Seen by 333

For some time, there have been rumors that Meta (Facebook) has plans to impose itself on the Fediverse. These rumors have recently been confirmed, with the news that Meta is developing a clone of Mastodon, referred to as "Project 92", "Barcelona", or "Threads", and that it has had a meeting with the administrators of several large Mastodon instances, possibly including Eugen Rochko, while silencing them with a non-disclosure agreement.

Meta is an oligopoly that has aggressively sought to control social media, through absorption of other social media companies, and through policies of "embrace, extend, and extinguish", as with the RSS and XMPP protocols. Meta, through Facebook, is infamous for condoning the spread of far right ideology and of dangerous misinformation.

There have been calls for pre-emptively blocking Meta's project. In particular, @[email protected], administrator of a small Mastodon instance, beach.city, has proposed the Anti-Meta Fedi Pact.


I see our best hope in collective resistance.

Therefore, I would like us to discuss whether we should support this move, and if so, how best to do so. As a starting point for discussion, I suggest the following:

  1. Social.Coop commits to blocking any Fediverse instances that Meta creates.

  2. We, as a body, sign the Anti-Meta Fedi Pact.

  3. We follow up by collectively drafting and issuing a public statement.

(As I have not been active in Social.Coop discussions, I hope that the way I am presenting this is appropriate, and I welcome constructive criticism.)


Poll Created Mon 19 Jun 2023 8:52PM

Shall Social.Coop sign the Anti-Meta Fedi Pact and commit to blocking Meta instances on the Fediverse? Closed Thu 22 Jun 2023 8:00PM

by Brian Vaughan Tue 27 Jun 2023 11:30PM

I apologize for the delay in reporting the outcome of the sence check on signing the Anti-Meta Fedi Pact and committing to blocking Meta instances.

51% voted "Looks good", which is a majority, but just barely. 30% voted "Concerned", 17%, "Not sure yet", and 1% "Undecided". Given that it was such a narrow majority, I would have to say that the course of action I suggested is not sufficiently direct a representation of our collective views on the issue. However, the discussion shows that there is a general concern with Meta, and while there is a range of views on how best to respond, there does seem to be a general sense that we should have a collective response. We are continuing to discuss next steps. Suggestions have included issuing a statement on the matter, possibly using statements from other instances as models, and the possibility of calling for some sort of Assembly of Fediverse instances, using the issue of Meta (and perhaps the Pact) as a starting point for broader organization.


Results Option % of points Voters
Looks good 51.5% 35 DM BH F AW BS SJK N EM LO M DVN EC D RJ AS A BD H AS LW
Not sure yet 17.6% 12 TB MN MP TR RH ES RD RP L BS DH SM
Concerned 30.9% 21 WO JNM NS C EM N DU W DZ SG NC G J K JK H DT SJ TD BTM
Undecided 0% 1 RJ

68 of 69 people have participated (98%)


Sam Whited
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.looks good">Looks Good</span>
Mon 19 Jun 2023 10:44PM

I wonder if we should have a discussion about this first before jumping straight to a poll? This is a confusing aspect of Loomio that I think most of us do at some point. That said, I support this.


Fenn Martyn
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_proposal_options.concerned">Concerned</span>
Mon 19 Jun 2023 10:51PM

I would strongly prefer there to be a democratic coalition of instances that collectively makes decisions, like this, that have wider impacts across the entire network, rather than individual instances making this decision on their own.

I would rather we work to set standard practice policies that all federated instances follow and then ask that Meta follow them, rather than preemptively block them. I don't like them, but it's not a great way to go imo.


Dynamic Tue 20 Jun 2023 9:56PM

@Fenn Martyn, I am a little confused by the way you start your post. Individual instances joining together to sign a pact seems like a pretty good mechanism for instances to act as a democratic coalition. What system would you envision that would make you feel better?


Dynamic Tue 20 Jun 2023 9:59PM

@Fenn Martyn Regarding the development of standard practice policies, what if we worked toward collectively agreeing not to federate with any instance run by an entity that sells user data to advertising companies or uses user data to build up profiles for advertising purposes?


Fenn Martyn Tue 20 Jun 2023 10:15PM

@Dynamic Good questions! My main issue with the pact as it currently stands is that it's reactionary rather than proactive. Forgive the platitudes, but it declares "what we are not", rather than "what we are." Rather than something that says, "We will not federate with any instance that sells user data to advertisers", why not "We agree to adhere to the following privacy-respecting data practices, and agree to collectively federate only with instances that adhere to the same or reasonably similar practices."?


Fenn Martyn Tue 20 Jun 2023 10:20PM

@Dynamic I agree that a pact is better than nothing, and is a step in the right direction; I'll also admit that I have no idea how a "Council of Instances" or a "United Federation" would work or be funded. I'm no expert in bureaucracy or treatise here.

In my head, the idea is an establishment of an as-needed representative body of instances that comes together periodically to discuss important matters or make decisions collectively. Not an all-the-time organization, but more like a session that meets every now and again when the occasion arises.

A flawed idea, yes. It's just something I think is worth discussing.


Dynamic Wed 21 Jun 2023 1:20AM

@Fenn Martyn Thanks for following up on this. I could be on board with a positively formulated federation policy.


Dynamic Wed 21 Jun 2023 1:26AM

@Fenn Martyn

I'm less convinced on the idea that it would make sense to form a "Council of Instances" over this kind of question (I understand that you acknowledge that it is flawed). Putting together that kind of governing body would be a ton of work and would doubtless be a long, slow process, particularly if this council of instances is meant to also represent democratically run instances such as our own. Burnout is a huge issue on Fedi, and practicality aside, this feels like creating even more work for everybody.

I feel like portable written systems that can be adopted at will work better in this kind of space. That includes things like curated lists of instances to block and (I would argue) shared values pacts such as the Anti-Meta Pact. Whether we sign that particular one or not, I'm having a hard time seeing a better process for democratically sharing ideas across Fediverse instances.


Dynamic Thu 22 Jun 2023 10:29PM

Inspired by the above exchange with @Fenn Martyn, I posted to Mastodon an invitation for folks to think about how they would reword the Anti-Meta Pact to be less company-specific and more positive. Thought I'd include a link here, in case it is of interest to anyone reading this subthread. https://social.coop/@dynamic/110579677650355358

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