Federation of user accounts and follows/followers across ActivityPub services?

This goes beyond Mastodon, but I hope you find this on-topic anyway.

How far will the federation go federating user accounts in different services? Now a user needs to create separate accounts in Mastodon, PeerTube, PixelFed, Funkwhale, and they have different follows/followers in each service.

However, does it need to be this way? Can we somehow borrow Hubzilla’s nomadic identity and be the same user in these different federated services?

What if you could follow someone across these services or just in the ones you’d select?


@icaria36 You don’t need an account on an instance of Mastodon to follow/ be followed by / @mention etc users there. You just need an account on any instance that federates with ActivityPub (or OStatus but this will likely be obsolete by the end of 2018). If all of the projects you list are implementing AP correctly, you don’t need an account on an instance of each of these apps to follow/ be followed by / @mention etc users there either.

If federation from Mastodon to any of these other apps is not working it’s either because;
a) they are new apps, or their implementation of AP is new (hell, AP is new), and they are still working out the bugs.
b) Mastodon has some inessential weirdnesses that make it hard for any other app to federate with, even when they follow the AP spec to the letter.

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@strypey all this is true for following, but what about publishing. Users interested in posting videos à la PeerTube, pictures à la PixelFed, music à la Funkwhale, links à la Prismo… will want to use those services, and for that they will have to create new accounts for them.

As thing are now, the Fediverse will consider all those accounts of a same person completely independent, as if they wuld belong to completely different people. However, it shouldn’t be like this with the concept of federation in the DNA of ActivityPub and all these fediversal services.

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OK, I think I see your point. For example, If I want to upload video on the PeerTube network (searchable and embeddable across the fediverse via AP), 1) I need an account on at least one PeerTube instance. I can’t do it from a Mastodon instance, or using my existing account on a Mastodon instance (or GNU Social or whatever). 2) Once I set up a PeerTube account, there’s no to associate it with my existing Mastodon account. Is this it?

I don’t know enough about it to be 100% sure, but I don’t think even fully implementing the AP spec on all apps would address this. Being able to use one web ID across a wide range of sites has always been the holy grail of the social web. It’s an incredibly hard problem, because of spammers, flooders, stalkers, verbal abusers etc.

The second part is addressed by the Zot protocol used by Hubzilla. It has a feature called #NomadicIdentity. Once you have an account on a second Hubzilla instance (or “hub”), you can associated with it your first account, and then clone your “channels” (feeds/ timelines) to the second hub, and so on with as many hubs as you like. If PeerTube implemented Zot, you could associate a Hubzilla account with a PeerTube account, and clone your channels between the Hubzilla and PeerTube hubs those accounts are on, and any other PT or Hubzilla hub you have accounts on.

So far Hubzilla is the only app that implement Zot, and it’s said to be really hard to understand. But Hubzilla also speak OStatus and ActivityPub, so if you set yourself up an account on a hub, you can already talk to the rest of the fediverse from there (more or less).


I’m currently on a Mastodon instance that also has a Peertube instance associated with it, so I see what you’re saying. How are my Mastodon followers going to know when I’ve posted a video to my PeerTube channel?

why not just boost the video?

(if people were writing activitypub Clients instead of activitypub Servers, this would be a different proposition, but that’s somewhat of a more tenuous proposition)

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Wouldn’t that not look as elegant as if it were posted directly to the feed? I’ve heard that there is a way to do it. I think from PeerTube themselves, they say that they are experimenting with share to Mastodon, though, never have I seen that in the wild.