Session: Implications of TikTok for the Fediverse


Convener: DrImplausible (@drimplausible@mastodon.online)

Participants who chose to record their names here:

  • Anca Mosoiu (@anca@peep.anca.tv)

  • Edward L. Platt (@elplatt@greatjustice.net)

  • Nathalie (@nvraemdonck@hci.social)

  • Matias (@mconcoby@firefish.social)


User-centric (creator-centric) model

  • Separation of likes/boost/reposts/“quote posts” (duet or stitch)

  • Separation of content and comments

  • Heavy moderation - community guidelines

How to conceptualize it?

  • Creation tool with a shared Dropbox and a search tool?

Fedi differences:

  • lack of music rights? (plus for musicians?)

  • different algorithm (weighted v. chronological)

  • media-first view of content

TT as Creator v TT as Consumer?

TikTok as a cultural form

TikTok is a bit different from what the Fediverse is currently focused on. Gaining in scale and attractive to a large number of users, especially younger users.

Threads copied a lot of TikTok functionality, might eventually federate.

App and website are very different expieriences. App is a continuous stream, like watching TV.

TikTok has a complicated way to determine who sees what (NYTimes article?). Complaints from TikTok users who aren’t getting views despite having followers. Fediverse might be able to do that better.

Q: Does Fediverse do live video?
A: Peertube does!

TikTok has a draconian and opaque moderation policy. Difficult to confirm because everyone’s experience is customized.

Anca discusses creator vs consumer vs collaborator.

DrImplausible compares fediverse to older tech from 2000s, contrasts with TikTok as more modern social network with focus on media.

Anca wonders if its really social media?

DrImplausible says it’s highly social, or at least parasocial.

Anca says: What I’m getting out this is that TikTok is Social creation, less about social consumption (since the feed is not driven by what users are asking for)

For someone not familiar with TikTok, what are the key elements? Is it mostly the user experience? Could the existing fediverse be repackaged with a TikTok format?

DrImplausible compares to Flipboard demo from this morning. The velocity of the media is different, continuous multi-sensory stream of “very cool media”.

Discussion on age and culture. Fediverse is “old” vs younger TikTok. How to attract wider age range? Should the fediverse want to reproduce everyting TikTok does, surveilance, manipulation, etc? There is tension

DrImplausible discusses how some parts may be desirable but others not as much. Creators want to reach their audience, but if the audience is on a private platform, that’s the only way to reach them.

Can resistance to less “ideologically pure” features be a barrier to people joining the fediverse?

Edward discusses difficulty of decentralized storage of large files like images. Already a problem driving up server costs for instances. Does there need to be a fundamental change to make TikTok style video possible?

Nathalie asks what makes TikTok addictive? One thing that is hard to replicate is discoverability. They’re an AI company that is very good at algorithmically recommendations. Could replicate short-form video, as opposed to YouTube style video on PeerTube. Also the social elements like video replies, stitches, and comments sections. Can we have comments federate across multiple platforms?


Anca proposing a video comment thread that could be viewed without clicking. Working on a mastodon fork that includes audio updates. Video takes too much storage. Does anyone have solutions?

Yesterday’s session on personal data stores may apply.

Interesting possibility of adding breaks in a video to insert comments and replies.

DrImplausable discusses TikTok as a place for musicians. Billboard now has charts for TikTok audio. Platform isn’t always friendly, copyright strikes for using their own music. Fediverse could be a friendlier place and allow musicians to license their music for re-use.

Participant is a DJ, uses PeerTube and hasn’t received any content strikes, but gets taken down from SoundCloud & Mixcloud almost instantly. Fediverse allows artists to participate more authentically, more possibilities.

Edward brings up Kevin MacLeod who does Creative Commons music and has a very popular TikTok audio Kevin MacLeod: https://incompetech.com/

DrImplausible discusses creators using multiple streams already. Ease of use is important for creators. We don’t have a CapCut like tool for the fediverse, should we think about it?

Anca is interested in collaborative user interfaces for content creation