Thirty days ago, Facebook and Instagram blocked this blog, citing an unspecified violation of community standards. Although my accounts weren’t suspended from either service, I lost my ability to interact with other users on Instagram until I removed the link to the blog from my profile. On Facebook, any content that had mentioned the blog was deleted before I even knew what was happening.
To this day, I have no idea what prompted the block. Friends and family members have speculated about posts concerning firearms, Donald Trump, Catholicism, and COVID-19. My hunch is that it wasn’t any single post, but rather an algorithmic scoring system that added up every individual bit of wrongthink until it finally dropped the ban-hammer.
The block from Facebook was particularly frustrating because it happened during my ongoing move away from WordPress. I only reluctantly created a Facebook account earlier this year to give my family and friends another way to follow the blog during the transition. Most of my immediate family members have Facebook accounts and use them with some regularity.
After a couple weeks of scratching my head about how to move forward, I remembered another social networking option that I’d almost forgotten. About a year ago, I created my first presence in the Fediverse, a federated social network that I described in detail in a blog post last August. If I could federate the blog, anyone with an account anywhere in the Fediverse could follow the blog, like or reblog posts, or leave comments. And because the network is entirely decentralized, I wouldn’t be at any one corporation’s mercy.
There isn’t an out-of-the-box solution to federate a blog like this one, so it took some custom coding on my part to implement the ActivityPub protocols that are the “magic” behind federation. However, after a couple weeks of working around my day job, I finally got the basic elements working earlier this week.
If you don’t already have an account in the Fediverse and you’d like one, my blog post from last August provides some suggestions on how to find a host. Also, I’d like to remind close friends and family of the still-open invitation to my personal Fediverse instance, if you’re interested. At this moment, there are only five of us using the server, so there’s plenty of room for more. Let me know.
Once you have an account in the Fediverse, depending on the software you’re using, you can follow the blog one of two ways:
Right now, the blog is unable to follow you back. However, if you do follow the blog, I will most likely follow you from my “social” account, @email@example.com.
I look forward to joining you in the Fediverse!