In response to Joe Biden and the White House enabling ActivityPub federation via Threads, a number of people asked: “Why didn’t the White House just self-host their own Mastodon server?”

Here’s some very basic musings on what it would take for that to happen. and what some of the hurdles are. Don’t consider it a definitive answer, but a jumping-off point.

  • @[email protected]
    3 months ago

    The German government has been doing it for their various agencies for years

    They saw Facebook a national security threat and Twitter getting bought by a censoring fascist was the final straw for a lot of German ministries to switch to accounts on the German government run Mastodon instance.

  • kbal
    23 months ago

    Could the US Government Run a Lemonade Stand?

    Why would anyone want this?

    The US government has made a habit of providing lemonade to the people of our fair city. Maybe selling it at Walmart is not the best conceivable option for such a large and important undertaking. You’d think the government could get its act together sufficiently to run its own lemonade stand. Maybe the Department of Information could hand out their weekly flyers there too.

    Some people don’t like going in to Walmart, some resent their every visit being recorded on the store surveillance cameras, and some people are banned from Walmart. So it might be better, democratically speaking, for the government to run its own lemonade stand.

    Technical and Organizational Hurdles

    Given the massive complexity and funding challenges of running a lemonade stand, we can assume that it would take several years to set up and that it would cost of several billion dollars. There may be requirements for new banking regulations, new government departments, NASA will probably want to get involved, and there will need to be user training and onboarding programs to make sure everyone is well prepared for serving and receiving lemonade.


    Without the convenience of relying on Walmart to provide its reassuringly friendly and reliable security enforcement, we’ll need new procedures to deal with the kinds of hate speech, CSAM, terrorism, sedition, treason, weapons smuggling, drug trafficking, and moral hazard that are very likely to occur at any lemonade stand.

    It will take a large team of lawyers to come up with reasonable ways to run a lemonade stand without violating the 8th amendment.

    It’s Still Worth Trying

    Sure is a lot of work, so we’d better get started.

    • Sean TilleyOPM
      33 months ago

      I dunno, federated communication systems have a very different utility than lemonade stands. 😅

  • @[email protected]
    12 months ago

    I think your points are valid. There is still work to do to enable government amd corporate agencies to easily operate their own domain in fediverse. There are projects and server hosting providers that are making that easier but realistically we need to see those services become much more integrated with existing social media, website and email management tools ( Think software like Hootesuite, SproutSocial, HubSpot on the client side and GoDaddy, AWS, Azure, 1&1Ionos on the server side ) that include managed activitypub services to SMEs and corporates and a way of managing them. I see these being like email accounts, only available for use by the domain user but can exchange content through federation. Moderation in these cases is just like dealing with Spam (Which email providers already do) - I know these approaches mean that at the infrastructure level there is a tendency back to centralisation but the difference is that there is no lockin. A company/org/Person can take their website / domain to whatever infrastructure they want.

  • Ademir
    13 months ago

    Threads is already hosted by the US Government. All american tech companies are strategic to the US government.