Dependency Problems on Federated Social Media

While Twitter offers the luxury of not choosing your own instance, you have to choose one on Mastodon. This choice determines the visibility of the account as well as the ending of its username. It also makes you dependent on your instance operator

Journalists in particular are in a state of tension:

On the one hand, they would like to enjoy the reach and verification of their employer, i.e., create an account on their instance. On the other hand, any termination of contract might mean an end to the journalists Mastodon reach as well.1

Freelance journalists have even bigger problems: they have to be found by other means entirely.

The most sensible solution is therefore an instance for all journalists, hosted, for example, by the press associations or by an association of several media houses. For verification, verified links can still be used.

This would provide clear identification as a journalist and at the same time protect them from their employers.

It would also have advantages for freelance journalists: they could still participate in the discourse on a secure platform and would be visible through their instance as a journalist, as well as an employee of a specific company.

The caveat, of course, is that you have to trust the operator of this platform and hope it won’t get banned.2

  1. If an account is deleted too quickly by the employer, the account owner has no chance to move followers.

    The move must also be registered by each server on which a follower has an account. This approach looses followers, since it may lead to errors (e.g. a receiving server being temporarily unable to accept move notifications). ↩︎

  2. See ↩︎