Open Source Thoughts

A Look at Fediverse and Decentralized Social Media Projects

Reading Time : 7 min

Fediverse is a collection of consolidated servers used for social media, web publishing, file hosting and other modern web activities, but able to communicate with each other while hosted independently. In this way, users can create so-called identities on different servers. The name is derived from the words “federation” and “universe”.

So what should we think about when we say Fediverse? How exactly does it work today at the point where the Internet evolved? Where can we position it in the classic Web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 cycle. Or can we say decentralized internet itself?

What is the Fediverse?

I tried to make my own definition of Fediverse in the introduction, but let’s expand this definition with a small quote from Wikipedia.

The fediverse (a portmanteau of “federation” and “universe”) is an ensemble of federated (i.e. interconnected) servers that are used for web publishing (i.e. social networking, microblogging, blogging, or websites) and file hosting, but which, while independently hosted, can communicate with each other. On different servers (technically instances), users can create so-called identities. These identities are able to communicate over the boundaries of the instances because the software running on the servers supports one or more communication protocols that follow an open standard. As an identity on the fediverse, users are able to post text and other media, or to follow posts by other identities. In some cases, users can show or share data (video, audio, text, and other files) publicly or to a selected group of identities, and allow other identities to edit other users’ data (such as a calendar or an address book).

Web 2.0, Social Media, Productification of the Producer

How well it all started. The eras of Netscape and Geocities, Web 1.0 and the first steps of the information age. The period when people haven’t started contributing content yet, we were all just users and first sign up for emails.

Although this period is called the dark age for some, people’s only concern was probably just IE6 and the problems it created to make the www a better place :) The period that was later called Web 2.0 began in 2005. Users who had been consumers on the Internet until then, went beyond this and became participants and producers with Web 2.0. Some examples of Web 2.0 include platforms where users interact, such as Wikipedia, Youtube, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and dating sites.

The Web 2.0 era brought to life blogs, vlogs and social media, as well as the use of CSS and XHTML and microformats, XML and RSS technology. When we look at the fediverse definition above, we can say that the closest project for that period was Wordpress. Although it seems to be gradually giving up its throne to different Jamstack platforms today, Wordpress is a very important part of making the web so effective as a useful CMS. In fact, it is a good example of what applications and projects on the Fediverse side can do.

With Web 2.0, people have been entering information, producing content and sharing on the Internet for a very long time, rather than being a user. During this socialization process, social media platforms, which have grown thanks to the opinions, expressions and criticisms of people, have reached huge incomes. However, although things seemed to be going well until recently, social media has enabled users to become a product beyond the productization of user content. Almost all of the widely used social media platforms today serve in a centralized structure. As people become increasingly aware of the power a handful of companies wield over the internet, they have begun to look for alternative decentralized platforms. At this point, Fediverse comes to the fore more with the concepts of personal rights and decentralization. Even if they are not yet aware of it, the possibility of many people interacting with Fediverse is increasing day by day.

The Internet Itself Is Decentralized

Yes, we did not set out like this. More precisely, we called the Internet the electronic communication network that connects computer systems. That is, computers store data such as websites and other computers or phones request access to this data. This is done simply through various open protocols and standards that allow machines to understand each other. Since these standards are open and interoperable, you can connect to a server from any PC and view a web page from any web browser.

I talked about Wordpress and its contributions to the internet above. If we go over blogging again for centralization, we can give the example of Medium for Web 2.0 recently. Let’s say you want to write your own personal ideas or write articles on popular topics and make money. For this, instead of developing your own web page with server and design, you open an account on Medium. We can say that this is an easier process in terms of ease of work, but if we look at it from a centralization point of view, you can use the content on the platform as you wish and earn money from the content as long as you comply with the Medium terms of service. But those terms of service that you never read, unfortunately, change over time and become restrictive.

A more brutal example can be given for the Internet influencer that emerged in the Web 2.0 era. Imagine you are a phenomenon and all your content is based on the target audience you create on a social media platform and the synergy you create there. But if your social media account is locked, things can turn around in an instant. You may have to develop good-faith dialogues with the centralized platform to recover your account or maintain your presence on that platform.

We follow what Twitter has become with the acquisition of Elon Musk. We can develop these examples further. The current situation simply shows how the internet is centralized in the hands of corporate entities. So, how will the gains gained with Web 2.0 evolve? More precisely, the content creation experience we have acquired is more decentralized, will it be able to get rid of the limitations of these companies? At this point, we can open a new window and welcome to Fediverse :)

Decentralized Web 3.0 or Liberated Web 2.0?

Within the open and interoperable nature of Fediverse, there are various projects that can work in a decentralized structure. Even if you have not heard of the concept or the word Fediverse, Web 3.0-based Mastodon, which is an alternative to Twitter, is an application built according to the Fediverse philosophy. For example, you can comment on a video on Mastodon and have it appear as a comment on the same video on PeerTube (Youtube alternative). So you can easily integrate one Fediverse project into another. Or you can ban someone from your personal Mastodon server, but you cannot prevent someone from using Mastodon.

Let’s say you start using Mastodon. You are not satisfied with the rules and current structure of the server you are a member of. You can transfer your account to another server of your choice. Or someone blocked you. In this case, if you wish, you can set up your own cloud server or join a different server and continue to use the service elsewhere. You always have this freedom.

Fediverse projects are free and open source. Projects communicate using the activitypub protocol. Assuming you use Mastodon (Twitter alternative) and PixelFed (alternative to Instagram) to socialize, you own your data. Even if you host the projects, this gives you more management possibilities. Even this point alone expresses the concept of decentralization and the Fediverse philosophy beautifully.

Fediverse Projects You Can Use Today

Fediverse is not very popular yet, but there are various projects that you can become a member of or host yourself.

These are the equivalents of known popular platforms on the Fediverse network, but the list is wider. You can find a list of other projects at or


Actually, as you can see, Fediverse looks like a federation of Web 2.0 sites that exchange content on many topics, mostly microblogging. The good thing is, you can connect from any service provider you like with its rules and structure, and you can communicate with the whole world without any restrictions.

At this point, the concept of Fediverse can also be called Web 2.5 because it offers a scalable decentralized structure and frees social media from the corporate structure. Because raising awareness of internet users, blockchain-based governance models and of course the Semantic web, which we push the limits of with ChatGPT, will be the most important components that will carry us to the real Web 3.0.