In March, WordPress.com owner Automattic made a commitment to the fediverse -- the decentralized social networks that include the Twitter rival Mastodon and others -- with the acquisition of an ActivityPub plug-in that allows WordPress blogs to reach readers on other federated platforms. Now, the company is announcing ActivityPub 1.0.0 for WordPress has been released allowing WordPress blogs to be followed by others on apps like Mastodon and others in the fediverse and then receive replies back as comments on their own sites.
Since the acquisition, the company has improved on the original software in a number of ways, including by now allowing the ability to add blog-wide catchall accounts instead of only per-author. It also introduced the ability to add a "follow me" block to help visitors follow your profile and a "followers" block to show off your followers, noted Automattic design engineer Matt Wiebe, in a post on X.
Here's our changelog! The main points are the blog-wide account (before it was only per-author), and the two new Blocks, but tons of bug fixes, a security audit, and compatibility with various networks too.
Dotcom is coming very soon! pic.twitter.com/NaFjDSIs57
— Matt Wiebe (@mattwiebe) September 13, 2023
Other updates include a number of bug fixes, the completion of a security audit, and improved compatibility, including with the latest version of WordPress, 6.3.
At the time of its acquisition, the ActivityPub plug-in supported federated platforms including Mastodon, Pleroma, Friendica, HubZilla, Pixelfed, SocialHome and Misskey. It had then been downloaded 35,000 times according to its statistics page. Now, that number has increased, as the page shows its all-time installations are at 42,831.
For the time being, the software supports self-hosted WordPress blogs, but Wiebe teased that support for WordPress.com blogs was "coming soon."
Automattic's CEO Matt Mullenweg has been bullish on the promises of the fediverse — especially given the open source nature of its decentralized, interconnected server software. Late last year, for example, the CEO wrote that Tumblr would add support for ActivityPub, the protocol that powers Mastodon and other decentralized social apps. But more recently, Mullenweg told us he's been investigating not only ActivityPub, but also other protocols like Nostr and Bluesky's AT Protocol.
WordPress's support for ActivityPub follows a number of moves by other publishers to embrace the fediverse. Earlier this year, Medium announced it would launch its own Mastodon server and integrate with ActivityPub. Magazine app Flipboard also announced it was launching its own instance on flipboard.social and integrated with Mastodon so its users could follow Mastodon updates in the Flipboard app.