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Flipboard expands Mastodon support to its Android application
April 2, 2023

Flipboard expands Mastodon support to its Android application

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Magazine app Flipboard is integrating Mastodon in its Android application, as the company broadens its commitment to the federated social web. Flipboard CEO Mike McCue will also demonstrate the app’s new Mastodon support in a session this morning at FediForum, an online event dedicated to discussions surrounding the challenges facing the Fediverse — the group of interconnected servers powering a range of open source, decentralized applications, including the newly popular Twitter alternative Mastodon.

Last month, Flipboard first announced it was joining the Fediverse with plans to integrate with Mastodon, launch its own Mastodon instance, and, later, add support for ActivityPub — the protocol powering Fediverse apps like Mastodon, which has benefited from the chaos surrounding Twitter after Elon Musk’s acquisition. Following its announcement, Flipboard’s Mastodon community now has around 500 active members who have established accounts in order to participate on the decentralized social platform.

In addition, Flipboard is rolling out support for Mastodon in its own app, allowing users to browse a feed of short updates from the people they follow, reply to, like and boost posts, as well as click on hashtags to follow discussions, among other things. In part, the integration is meant to plug a potential hole in Flipboard’s server if and when its Twitter API access stops working. That’s a heightened concern under Musk’s Twitter management, as the company overnight ripped away API access from a number of apps with no warning and recently changed the pricing, making it out of reach for many developers.

However, Flipboard’s Mastodon integration was originally iOS-only. Today, Android support is also now available.

As on iPhone, Android users can now find the new feature by navigating over the accounts section and then logging in with their Mastodon credentials for the instance they’re on. And if the user doesn’t yet have a Mastodon account, they can request access to join Flipboard’s own server from here.

Following its rollout of Mastodon integration, Flipboard added functionality that lets users follow other people, hashtags or feeds directly from the Flipboard app, and added the latest Mastodon posts to Flipboard users’ For You feed. It also made it possible for users to access their Mastodon bookmarks and @mentions from within its app and add them to the list of followed items on Flipboard.

Combined, these features make Mastodon a larger part of the Flipboard experience. While not as robust as some other clients like Tapbots’ Ivory or Mozilla-backed Mammoth, it’s possible to browse and use Mastodon by way of Flipboard — which may be enough for more casual users.

Perhaps just as important is the larger commitment the company is making to the federated social web, which includes being an active participant in the conversations that are happening around the future of decentralization. For instance, the event where McCue spoke today — FediForum — is a small, online ‘unconference’ where ideas are discussed and shared. As noted during the wrap-up on day one, other non-ActivityPub projects were invited to attend, like Jack Dorsey-backed Bluesky, but they declined.

‘We’re big believers in the innovation and growth coming from the Fediverse. As more apps and platforms embrace federated social networks like Mastodon, this ecosystem will increasingly become a viable alternative to today’s ‘walled garden’ social media networks,’ said McCue. ‘Our current integration with Mastodon gives a glimpse into how the ActivityPub protocol can lead to more connected services and expansion of the Fediverse.’

Flipboard’s embrace of the Fediverse follows a similar announcement from the blogging platform Medium, which recently launched its own Mastodon community for its authors. Other companies that have weighted various Fediverse integrations include Tumblr and Flickr, both of which have discussed adding support for ActivityPub, as well. owner Automattic (which also owns Tumblr) earlier this month acquired an ActivityPub plugin so blogs can join the Fediverse.


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