Follow Twitter Users on Mastodon (or any ActivityPub implementation)

This article is my third article of the #100DaysToOffload project. The goal of this project is to write 100 posts in a year, in order to make people write and think more.

One day on Hacker News I found out the bird.makeup site, which makes bot accounts of Twitter users to make them followable on ActivityPub implementations like Mastodon. If this sentence means nothing to you, let me explain some of the words:

I don’t know whether that explains it correctly; if not, there are definitely other people explaining these better.

So on to bird.makeup…

How the site works

The site is as easy as it gets: type in the Twitter handle of whom you want to follow, and it will give you a corresponding @<account>@bird.makeup account. Open up your Mastodon (or Plemora, et al.) account and follow the bird.makeup account there. That’s it: you can now see all the account’s Twitter posts, in the comfort of your instance’s “Home” or account timeline.

Why is this interesting

Well, you can follow anyone on Twitter without them knowing it. That’s the interesting point about this service and the Fediverse in general: if the server doesn’t federate with your server, you can piggyback on their posts and reply all you want without their knowledge. It’s the modern version of talking behind people’s backs.

This can raise problems such as commercial instances piggybacking on posts to serve ads, and lead to instance moderators blocking them, which in turn raises the burden of instance moderators. Although this might not be a problem for now, I see it being a huge issue in the future, as the Fediverse keeps growing.

But in the meantime, Twitter isn’t going to implement ActivityPub and federate, so I dunno, just enjoy the service I guess :)

Last updated: 2023-03-23

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