Social magazine app Flipboard had already committed to joining the ‘fediverse‘ — the decentralized social web, which includes apps like Mastodon. Now, it’s doubling down on those ambitions with an announcement that it will stop tweeting while also launching a new podcast devoted to exploring the topic of decentralized social media.
The company confirmed today that Flipboard will suspend its activity on Twitter/X as it focuses more on the decentralized social web.
“While we’ve enjoyed connecting with many of our community members there, we believe it’s vital to align our social presence with platforms that share our values for advancing trusted journalism, expert voices, and quality information,” Flipboard announced in a statement. “This is one of the reasons we’re moving away from Twitter/X and investing our energy in Mastodon and other open social platforms. We will keep our accounts up, and will occasionally use them to retweet our creators and curators, but will not be actively monitoring or posting updates on X.”
Flipboard’s community and support teams will be active on Mastodon, in the wake of these changes. It’s only planning to keep its X accounts active in order to protect its brand. (X has been soliciting buyers for dormant usernames.)
Contributing to its decision, Flipboard also cited X’s rollback of moderation policies, which have led to “a rise in harmful rhetoric and hate speech,” it said, and other platform decisions that have advanced “false narratives and disinformation.”
The company said these sorts of changes run contrary to its values, which is why it’s moving to the decentralized social web instead.
Flipboard has been among the tech companies that have embraced decentralized social media following Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. Of course, Flipboard itself was harmed by Musk’s changes, as Twitter cut off developers from its API and upped the pricing for others, making it untenable for many to continue to work with the company.
But Flipboard didn’t just shift its Twitter integration over to Mastodon and Bluesky, it also set up a Mastodon server (or instance, in fediverse lingo) and online community, and committed to integrating its app with ActivityPub, the protocol that powers Mastodon and other decentralized social apps. It also began to curate the fediverse with editorial “desks” aimed at improving news and discovery on Mastodon.
Starting today, Flipboard CEO Mike McCue is diving deeper into the world of the fediverse with a new podcast, “Dot Social.” The podcast aims to explore the societal, cultural, and technical aspects of the decentralized social web, the company tells ProWellTech.
Dot Social’s guest lineup includes Techdirt founder and editor Mike Masnick; Mitchell Baker, CEO at Mozilla and chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation; Medium CEO Tony Stubblebine, whose company also launched its own Mastodon instance; Evan Prodromou, a key contributor to the ActivityPub protocol used in decentralized social networks; Ian Forrester, who is among those leading the BBC R&D’s experimental move into the fediverse with a Mastodon server at social.bbc; Wired co-founder and author John Battelle; and Tim Chambers, co-founder of Dewey Digital and creator of the X/Twitter Migration report.
Before founding Flipboard, serial entrepreneur McCue co-founded voice-recognition software TellMe Networks, which sold to Microsoft in 2007. He also served on Twitter’s Board of Directors between 2010 and 2012, and was a vice president of technology at Netscape.
After founding Flipboard in 2010, the company has focused on developing its social magazine app and, more recently, how it can connect its app to the fediverse by integrating with ActivityPub and running an online community as a home for its creators. McCue, who has been active in fediverse discussions as of late, believes that a business model for the fediverse will emerge over time. In the meantime, Flipboard aims to leverage its experience in curating the web as it shifts to decentralized social media.
Flipboard is not the only tech company to embrace Mastodon. In addition to Medium, Automattic brought WordPress blogs to the fediverse, and was considering doing the same for Tumblr. Mozilla is also betting on a decentralized social networking future, and financially backed the Mastodon client Mammoth. Instagram’s Twitter/X rival Threads also says it will integrate with ActivityPub in the future.