Fediverse : Why ? How? Recommendation on PG?

I just understood that interoperability on Fediverse means that all platforms (Pixelfed, Mastodon, Lemmy, …) using ActivityPub can interact, and not only federated servers of a same platform …
This is great!!!

  1. Since I can follow a Pixelfed account via Mastodon for example, am I supposed to have only one account for all ActivityPub platforms? Or one account per platform because maybe each platform is better optimized for the content it’s intended for?

  2. Do you think it’s reasonable to use Pixelfed or Mastodon even with a private account? Since they are not end-to-end encrypted and the administrator can see all your content (not sure) (therefore, he/she could know almost everything about your life (beliefs, work, family, hobbies,…) depending on the case). Are we left with only trust in the instance’s administrator ?

  3. Shouldn’t Privacy Guides recommend alternatives to social media, instead of only recommending frontends, which are only useful to leechers? That might make sense, since Privacy Guides uses Lemmy (=ActivityPub).
    I understand that a recommendation for an entire platform is impossible, because the privacy policy depends on the instance, but you could put a warning to alert the user to that.
    Currently, what are the recommendations for people who really want to interact on a social media, beyond leeching ? All they have to do is try not to get too ripped off and manipulated by Twitter and the likes ?

Previous discussion for reference:

The way most people do this is they have an account for everything they actively post to, but for things they just read or comment on they use something more generic like Mastodon.

For example, if you posted a lot of photos you might want a Pixelfed account, but if you just want to follow people on Pixelfed and comment on their photos, you can do so on Mastodon.

Not everyone does this though, some people prefer one account per platform since the clients tend to be optimized for certain content, as you mentioned. It’s kind of personal preference how many accounts you want to deal with. Mastodon is optimized enough for all content which makes it a good generic option.


Many thanks for your advices ! :slight_smile: and glad this has been discussed. I didn’t see it on the forum search results.

Wow, I read it all. What an interesting discussion !
I think TommyTran is right, but underestimates the improvement of the alternatives, which do NOT track you to death, build profiles to make you click on ads and manipulate you, all without any ethical consideration.
The alternatives are open-source. They haven’t introduced surveillance capitalism, and they don’t manipulate and censor you through an extremely extensive use of algorithms.
I’m sorry, but we have to admit that Google & Facebook are the bearers of a frightening totalitarian social project (refer to Soshana Zuboff).


In short, I don’t think PG should just say nothing and leave the Internet user to his fate.
We could GUIDE the user, without necessarily recommending everything and anything and, in so doing, lose the essence of the site, as TommyTran fears.

I agree with @anon31928201, plus in my opinion, there are a lot of ways that one may want to use social media that don’t necessarily endanger their privacy (sharing artwork, non-personal news, or non-identifying photographs for example). Furthermore, even if they are using social media in a way that ‘endangers’ their privacy (which feels subjective because everyone’s threat model is different), suggesting or guiding users toward less harmful alternatives to Facebook, Instagram, etc. has merit (many of the people on this forum have personal websites or other ‘privacy-compromising’ personal profiles, which goes to show that even among those interested in privacy, there is a demand for these sorts of social-network services). In order for PG to be useful for a wide range of people, PG should recommend tools that will be useful to those who simply want to get away from big tech AND for those who want to go all in on privacy & security. While I understand TommyTran’s point, in my opinion, it is a little bit too focused on users who are very concerned with privacy and security. For many others, who do want to participate in social media, looking at PG will leave them with the impression that there aren’t any better-for-privacy alternatives to facebook/instagram/twitter/tiktok when there definitely are as mentioned by @anon31928201.

Also, to the point that federated services offer freedom, not privacy, I would contend that they aren’t completely separate. Having that freedom allows one to choose a provider that is privacy-respecting without losing connections with friends/family, as such it enables greater privacy in the grand scheme of things.

At the time the PrivacyGuides team removed social media recommendations, I did think it was a great move. Not anymore. Almost everyone likes to share their lifes, even if it’s just something small. We are “social beings”, after all.

That’s true. Even some team members here at PrivacyGuides have their Mastodon and/or Pixelfed accounts. And, while I recognize that their point of view does not always reflect on the recommendations, I think that there’s some room for adding those “alt” social medias here on PrivacyGuides.

If the person do not want to use a social media, they will just NOT search for an alternative. If they want, there’ll be some nice alternatives listed on the website. Will not hurt anyone.

And the best of all that is that there’s some really nice people there at Mastodon, Lemmy, and beyond.

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Your posts and comments are public in all the instances that pull the contents. So is your profile.

You upvote/downvotes are public on at least your instance and the community’s host, more likely on all the instances that pull the contents.

Your private messages are most likely stored on both your instance and your partner’s instance.

Your IP addresses, emails, and settings are stored on your instance, accessible to the admin and maybe some, to the mods.

I personally feel that it is only a matter of time before somebody set up instances to collate all these information. Admins can be compelled to hand over information, or some may even sell out, with or without written TOS. I think it is better to assume no privacy in the fediverse. Maybe they can’t immediately identify you, but they can certainly track activities to your account, and given certain conditions, your email address. There is just no apparent financial incentives, just yet.


Whatever you prefer, really, there’s no rules to the game. But do note that most servers are ran by volunteers.

Because its federated, approved users’ servers can see contents too.

That is what Authorised Fetch is for.

I’m fairly certain I’ve seen some people complain that AF doesn’t actually work properly in some cases (Seirdy, I believe, posted about this probably a week or two ago on fedi)

there are some existing bugs/issues with it that are actively being looked into, but I think that option existing and having it enabled is still better than not trying. It does turn a bit into a cat and mouse game for those wishing to keep their userbase safe.

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