A reflection on Mastodon’s recent success and some implications for possible future regulations

I may be wrong.

it seems to me Mastodon has reached a critical mass, so it will exist in the foreseeable future as an alternative social media

Twitter will need to invent something extremely compelling, not yet thought of, in order to prompt people to pay, vis-á-vis a free alternative

This will push the adoption of activitypub (the underlying tech) and more services could emerge confronting other social media.

Musk’s illogic adventure could mark the social media industry tipping point

Regulators have at first given up regulating speech online leaving it to social media companies’ self regulation

Now they impose regulation but require companies to implement policing, given that our analogue institutions can’t cope with scale and speed of the digital dimension

The fragmentation brought about by activitypub will put pressure on such approach as the number of subjects can virtually be unlimited (now politics and law enforcers can interact with just three entities:meta Twitter and tiktok)

Dealing with a more fragmented reality without curbing free speech will require institutions to invent new approaches and inevitably policies will have to become much more technical.

Ad hoc tech infrastructures will be needed.

One could think that LEAs could just contact the owners of the various instances, and I think this might be an option to consider as a basis for future regulation: requiring activitypub public servers to obtain a General Authorization (legal term) so that there’s a registry of sunjiects that can be notified.

Furthermore, we will likely need

  • national authorities to publish machine readable decisions (re. bans, suspensions and evenatually exclusion of some servers from activitypub interoperability, pretty much like DNS poisoninig is being used today by LEAs)
  • AI moderation (possibily SAAS to which instances can plug into), and
  • a protected anonimity mechanism

Just some initial thoughts…

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