In early 2023, Mozilla will stand up and test a publicly accessible instance in the Fediverse at Mozilla.Social. We’re eager to join the community in growing, experimenting, and learning how we can together solve the technical, experience, and trustworthiness challenges inherent in hyper-scale social systems. Our intention is to contribute to the healthy and sustainable growth of a federated social space that doesn’t just operate but thrives on its own terms, independent of profit- and control-motivated tech firms. An open, decentralized, and global social service that puts the needs of people first is not only possible, but it’s absolutely necessary.
Our Pledge for a Healthy Internet describes our hopes for the Internet, and what it can become: a powerful tool for promoting civil discourse and human dignity. One that elevates critical thinking and reasoned argument, that honors shared experience and individual expression and brings together diverse and global communities to work together for the common good. Today we see the rising tide of the Fediverse, through Mastodon, Matrix, Pixelfed, and many others as a promising next step in that direction. Together we have an opportunity to apply the lessons of the past to build a social experience for humanity that is healthy, sustainable, and sheltered from the centralized control of any one entity.
Mozilla has a quarter-century track record of world-class open development, building products that champion individual agency and privacy in the age of surveillance capitalism. We hope to bring this experience to bear in service of the Fediverse, just as we hope to learn from those who are already working hard in this community. While we’re starting this exploration on Mastodon — as a mature, stable project, it’s an ideal first step into the Fediverse — we believe the potential of the Fediverse is bigger and broader than Mastodon alone. With a growing range of projects serving a growing range of creators and consumers, we’re looking forward to working on the challenges that crosscut the Fediverse, the shared problems that require shared solutions.
Now is the time, as we’re living through the consequences of 20 years of centralized, corporate-controlled social media, with a small oligopoly of large tech firms tightening their grip on the public square. In private hands our choice is limited, toxicity is rewarded, rage is called engagement, public trust is corroded, and basic human decency is often an afterthought. Getting from the internet we have to the internet we want will be a heavy lift, requiring significant investment in scalable, human-centred solutions for user and community safety, product experience, and sustainability. These are all big challenges, and there’s a lot we need to learn on the road ahead.
So let’s get moving.