Tumblr will soon add support for ActivityPub, an open, decentralized social networking protocol currently running social networks such as Twitter’s alternative Mastodon and the Pixelfed-like Instagram video-streaming service PeerTube and more.
The announcement was made in response to a Twitter user’s complaint regarding Mastodon’s complicated interface. Automattic Chief Executive Matt Mullenwegthe company that bought Tumblr 2019 from Verizon in the year 2019 — suggested that the person “come to Tumblr” as the site is set to “add activitypub for interconnect.”
In essence the simplest terms, this announcement signifies Tumblr will transition from being an online blog platform for niche users to being a part of an entire social network that is decentralized of sort — one whose users have been growing recently as users have fled Elon Musk’s Twitter to find new communities.
ActivityPub protocol, as explained on website ActivityPub protocol, as its website describes, offers the client-to-server API to create or update and delete content. It also provides an official server-to-server API for sending notifications and subscribing to content. In practical terms, it implies that Mastodon users can interact and follow other users on different instances and other social media apps (like PeerTube), which can also be used to implement ActivityPub. This creates a network of social networks in which users can connect and follow one another without having to sign up for separate accounts for every new platform.
If Tumblr were able to add ActivityPub support, it would mean users of Mastodon could be able to follow Tumblr posts by users on their personal Mastodon instance without the need to download the Tumblr application. It would also allow Tumblr users to join the known “fediverse” and not have to go through certain complexities associated with it signing up to Mastodon for the first time.
It was clear that Tumblr was already profiting from the Twitter departure, having seen its U.S. app installs 7 percent week-over-week compared to the week before the acquisition and the seven days following, data.ai had reported earlier in the month. Moreover, as of 12 days after the acquisition of Twitter, Tumblr’s global downloads soared 77% to 301,000, an increase from 170,000 just 12 days before the acquisition, Sensor Tower recently reported.
Mullenweg looked into Tumblr’s analytics, pointing out in the Atlantic that the number of iOS users who downloaded the Tumblr app had increased by 62% during the week following Musk’s appointment as the new CEO of Twitter.