The fediverse just got a little bigger today as Flipboard has now launched over 1,000 of its social magazines across the decentralized social web, allowing its curators and publishers to reach new audiences. The news follows the magazine app's December announcement that it would begin to integrate directly with the fediverse, or the decentralized social web that includes X competitor Mastodon, Pixelfed, and other apps.
After sensing a change in the direction that social media was headed, Flipboard last year dropped support for Twitter/X in its app, which today allows users to curate content from around the web in "magazines" that are shared with other readers. In Twitter's place, the company embraced decentralized social media, and last May became the first app to support Bluesky, Mastodon, and Pixelfed (an open source Instagram rival) all in one place.
While those first integrations allowed users to read, like, reply, and post to their favorite apps from within Flipboard's app, those interactions were made possible through APIs. Late last year, Flipboard said it was also adding support for ActivityPub, the networking protocol that powers the fediverse, within its own app. Initially, this would allow select accounts to be discoverable and followed by millions of users of decentralized social apps, including Mastodon.
Today, Flipboard says it has federated 1,000 magazines curated by the publishers it began testing with in December, as well as 20 new publishing partners who have joined the new effort. The magazines span a range of topics, including news, lifestyle content, and local journalism. Where before, users could only follow these magazines within Flipboard's app, they now each have their own native ActivityPub feeds that allow them to be discovered by users on Mastodon and other federated social apps.
The company explains that allowing users to follow magazines instead of other accounts means they can more closely track their particular interests. While a user may be interested in the photography that someone posts, they may not want to follow their posts about politics or sports. Flipboard's magazines, however, tend to be thematic in nature, allowing users to browse news, articles, and social posts referencing a particular topic, like healthy eating, climate tech, national security, and more.
Starting today, users can follow these specific interests by following their feeds within their preferred federated app, like Mastodon. Participating publishers include Smithsonian, Bloomberg Green, Frommer's, The Intercept, Real Simple, Refinery29, Mashable, Medium and others.
On Mastodon or another federated app, users will see a description of the magazine and the posts it has made since becoming federated. Those magazines that recently federated may not have posts yet, as it takes time for their content to propagate throughout the fediverse, the company notes. In that case, you can click a link that says "Browse more on the original profile" to see the posts in Flipboard instead. After you follow a magazine's account in the fediverse, you'll then see all the future posts from that account in your Following feed on Mastodon or other apps.
With the initial test group now integrated with ActivityPub, Flipboard says that the plan is to get started generating the remaining active and public curators and their magazines. The company plans to begin this process in March but will offer an opt-out to anyone who wants to keep their magazine on Flipboard exclusively.
"I believe that curation is core to providing people with a high quality and inspiring social media experience and I’m excited to begin bringing thoughtfully curated feeds to the fediverse," said Flipboard CEO Mike McCue in an announcement.
He noted that, in addition to completing the federation of the rest of Flipboard's magazines, the company is readying the launch of a new version of its app that will allow magazine curators to see and reply to the comments, likes and boosts they get from users on Mastodon as well.
Flipboard isn't the only social app to embrace ActivityPub. Instagram Threads, another X rival, is working on its ActivityPub integration. WordPress, Medium, and Mozilla have also entered the fediverse, the former via a plugin that allows WordPress blogs to publish to the decentralized social web.