I like the concept of using embeds of external content on your own site. This way you can show what you’re interested in or what your message is, like you would when retweeting, but your audience is not tied to one provider like Twitter or Instagram.

However, importing these posts like many people do is something I want to avoid: the posts should remain owned by their authors, they should be able to delete the post, and likes, views, etc should count towards their posts. Embedding provides the solution to this. The content is loaded from the external site (e.g. Twitter) and if an author has deleted the post, the embedded block will remain empty.

When a user on a federated service posts a message, the expectation is that it will be shared with other servers. Just like when you email someone, you understand that the message leaves your computer and possibly goes to another provider. However, if you tweet or post on Instagram, you would be rightfully annoyed to find your post copied onto someone else’s website, even after you have maybe deleted your post.

I also wanted to find out whether posts with such embeds showed up correctly when published to a federated network using the ActivityPub protocol. It doesn’t yet do so… Whether it’s a tweet with a video or text only, or an Instagram post, they show up mangled in the fediverse.

What would be ideal is the published, federated post containing nothing more of the embedded object than the link. Receiving servers could then display the embedded object themselves, if they so choose. A bit like how Friendica shows imported tweets.

The Instagram alternative Pixelfed, which is part of the fediverse as this blog is, now supports following accounts from outside the Pixelfed instance. Much thanks to the developer for making this happen! This is a major milestone on its way to its first stable release.

I’ve successfully send a post from Mastodon (the Twitter alternative in the fediverse) and received it in my Pixelfed account. I’ve replied on the post in Pixelfed and this reply is then visible on Mastodon. That’s how federation works!

This is a post I made on Mastodon. It arrived in Pixelfed. I’ve replied to it with my Pixelfed account, which arrived back on Mastodon.
This is the same post, but shown in Pixelfed.

Some problems still exist, that they are working hard on to fix:

  • You can’t follow people from other Pixelfed instances. This is of course a big bug that I’m sure will be fixed soon.
  • You can’t follow accounts from all fediverse software yet. E.g. following someone from Pleroma (another Twitter alternative) doesn’t yet work

I’ve also tested remote follow with Friendica (the Facebook alternative), Peertube (the YouTube alternative) and this WordPress blog, but no luck yet.

The photos I used in the test posts are of actress Genevieve Buechner taken by www.instagram.com/djuansala.