Biden on Mastodon?

Well, not quite, but stay with me.

Threads is Meta’s Twitter competitor, (I can’t bring myself to say X), and has been making steady progress in attracting the disenchanted away from the the bird site. It’s now up to over 130 million MAU, which is not to be sneezed at, especially since they still haven’t really made serious attempts to tap the 2 billion MAU of Instagram.

In a move some thought was odd, Threads has announced it will interoperate with the Fediverse, Mastodon, et al. The current MAU of the entire Fediverse is in the low millions, so why expend resources to connect to it?

My belief is that this is a careful strategic move. Meta, along with Google, Amazon and Apple are now squarely in the sights of regulators because of their virtual monopolies/duopolies and questionable tax and business practices. The EU has been quite effective in bringing these companies to heel and even the US government is suing Apple.

Meta’s social media properties clearly make them a huge target for regulation. However, if they were to embrace an open eco-system, it makes it much more difficult to charge them with monopolistic behavior.

Hence the link to the Fediverse.

Over the last week or so, the first substantive move in this direction has been made in that Threads users in the US can now opt-in to being followed by Mastodon/Fediverse users.

In a minor but significant gesture the @POTUS account for Joe Biden on Threads has opted-in and I now have the thrill of seeing White House press releases appear on my Mastodon timeline.

Makes Mastodon feel nearly grown up :-)

Don’t let Vultr eat your content

Vultr is a popular cloud service provider for hosting web sites and other servers. They recently decided to change their Terms of Service and created a storm of outrage once someone read it properly.

Basically, they had included a clause claiming “perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free” rights to customer “content.”.

The implication of this was that any content stored on their servers, wether publicly accessible or not, could be used by them for any purpose. That would include training AI’s on customer data…

In the event, Vultr claimed this to be the work of an over zealous lawyer and the clause was removed. However, it was in Vultr’s Ts & Cs for three months before it was spotted.

Nowadays, I’m getting frequent notifications of changes to Terms of Service and this is proof that it’s easy to sneak this kind of clause in.

Google and Apple are quite clear that they can use user content to train AI’s, so this is a wake up call to those whose content and style has real value that they need to be clear what their rights their service providers are claiming for themselves.