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@Potus just joined the fediverse via Instagram Threads

The fediverse -- the name for the social network made of interconnected servers, like Mastodon and others -- got another boost of legitimacy Tuesday as the @Potus (President of the United States) account on Instagram Threads shared its first federated post. The account operated by Biden's team published a message regarding the president's support of reproductive freedom on Threads, Meta's up-and-coming Twitter/X competitor.

Soon after, Threads users noticed that his post sported Threads' fediverse sharing logo -- a circular shape that resembles planets orbiting a star, which gives a sense of the interconnected universe that makes up the fediverse.

Image Credits: Threads screenshot

Though many consumers may not yet know the terminology, the fediverse is an idea that's shaping up to become a more prominent part of social networking's future in the months ahead, especially given Meta's embrace of the technology and underlying ActivityPub protocol.

In short, the term refers to interconnected servers running social networks which can all talk to each other. Mastodon, an open source Twitter-like posting service, is a prominent member of the fediverse, as are other platforms like video-sharing service PeerTube, Instagram alternative Pixelfed, discussion forums software company Lemmy, publishing platform WriteFreely and others.

Combined, these services (excluding Threads) make up a "social web" that comprises 9.9 million total users, around 1.08 million of which are active on a monthly basis. Threads has over 130 million monthly active users as of Meta's most recent earnings, making it soon to be one of the biggest nodes in the fediverse.

When Meta introduced Threads, its text-focused Twitter/X competitor, the company said it planned to federate the app so users on Mastodon and other networks could see and respond to Threads' users' posts.

Late last year, Threads began testing that integration and, in March, it opened up fediverse sharing to Threads users in beta. This functionality isn't yet fully rolled out, and it still has some limitations. For example, at present, Threads users can't see who replied to or liked their posts from other servers and can't share their posts with polls. But those are features that will be coming in the future.

Despite lacking this functionality, @Potus' account embracing federated sharing means Biden's posts will have broader reach, as they can be viewed by users who aren't already on Threads, X or other unfederated social apps.