Tumblr Introduces ActivityPub

Published on 12 Nov 2022

Tumblr, ActivityPub

Tumblr is going to start using ActivityPub, an open and decentralized social networking protocol that already powers social networking applications like Mastodon (an alternative to Twitter), Pixelfed (a site similar to Instagram), PeerTube (a video streaming service), and others. A Twitter user's gripe about Mastodon's complexity prompted the announcement. With the announcement that Tumblr will soon "include activitypub for connectivity," Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg urged the user to "come to Tumblr." Automattic purchased Tumblr from Verizon in 2019.

This news effectively transforms Tumblr from a specialized blogging site into a decentralized social network whose user base has expanded recently as Twitter users seek refuge elsewhere after Elon Musk's criticisms of the platform.

See also: Netflix to Pay For Increased Internet Use Driven by Squid Game

What Is The ActivityPub?

According to its website, the ActivityPub protocol offers a client-to-server API for adding, editing, and removing material and a server-to-server API for sending alerts and subscribing users to content. It creates a network of social services where people can locate and follow each other without creating separate accounts for each platform. Since other social applications (like PeerTube) utilize ActivityPub, Mastodon users may communicate with and follow individuals across different instances (independently operated nodes).

This is in contrast to the current social media landscape, where users' posts on one platform are inaccessible to those on another unless they re-upload or repost the information themselves or provide a link to the other site where the content may be accessed.

If Tumblr were to adopt ActivityPub, Mastodon users wouldn't need the Tumblr app to keep up with the blogs they follow on Tumblr. It might also serve as a gateway for Tumblr users to join the so-called fediverse without dealing with the learning curve of Mastodon.

The Rise of Tumblr Once Again

In the United States, Tumblr had a 7% increase in app installations between the week before the purchase and the week following, according to data.ai, so the company was already reaping the benefits of the Twitter exodus. In addition, Sensor Tower reported that the number of downloads for Tumblr throughout the globe increased by 77% in the 12 days after the purchase, reaching 301,000 from 170,000.

Later, when Musk took over Twitter, Mullenweg looked into Tumblr's numbers by mentioning a 62% increase in iOS downloads of the Tumblr app to The Atlantic.

But even before Musk became Twitter's CEO, Mullenweg was already planning Tumblr's future competitive strategy.

An open option, where you may choose your algorithm, is all I'm asking for.

Earlier this year, he had remarked, "we're aiming to make Tumblr a platform for creativity and artists...," adding, "you're not doomscrolling, you're joy-scrolling."

Recently, Mullenweg created a website to recruit former Twitter workers to work at Automattic.

It's worth noting that Automattic has prior experience working with ActivityPub.

Automattic also manages the popular blogging platform WordPress.com and regularly contributes to the WordPress core. The latter now has an ActivityPub plugin for WordPress installations on dedicated servers. This way, visitors to a WordPress blog may keep up with its author's latest writings on Mastodon and other federated social networks. With the addition of ActivitiyPub support, a similar situation may arise on Tumblr.


Featured image: Tumblr


Subscribe to Whitepapers.online to learn about new updates and changes made by tech giants that affect health, marketing, business, and other fields. Also, if you like our content, please share on social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and more.