Social Network Interoperability

Social networks should not be closed spaces, but open environments that foster innovation.

Much like the telephone system after the deregulation of AT&T, users should be able to choose their social networking provider, and have the automatic ability to access and share content between networks. Moreover there should be the ability to port your account from one provider to another, much like a telephone number.

The Data Transfer Project is a Facebook sponsored initiative allowing users to transfer data between providers. However in Facebook's current vision data is restricted to things like photos and past posts. Conspicuously absent is the ability to transfer a user's social contacts. This should not be the case. People should have control over their social contact list.

ActivityPub is a standard from the World Wide Web Consortium for social networks to talk to each other. ActivityPub is currently supported by 7 different social networking projects, and over 2,000 social networking servers. ActivityPub currently appears weak in the areas of authentication and anti-spam protections.

Despite the popularity of ActivityPub, Facebook network effects mean it is likely to remain a footnote in the history of social networking unless major social networks add support for it.

ActivityPub represents users using web addresses, or URLs. This means representing a user that has ported their account might be as simple as providing a HTTP redirect to the new provider.

Require social network interoperability via ActivityPub or other technical standards.

Require social network account portability including a user's social contacts.