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What is GoToSocial?
GoToSocial is an ActivityPub social network server, written in Golang.
With GoToSocial, you can keep in touch with your friends, post, read, and share images and articles. All without being tracked or advertised to!
GoToSocial provides a lightweight, customizable, and safety-focused entryway into the Fediverse, and is comparable to (but distinct from) existing projects such as Mastodon, Pleroma, Friendica, and PixelFed.
If you've ever used something like Twitter or Tumblr (or even Myspace!) GoToSocial will probably feel familiar to you: You can follow people and have followers, you make posts which people can favourite and reply to and share, and you scroll through posts from people you follow using a timeline. You can write long posts or short posts, or just post images, it's up to you. You can also, of course, block people or otherwise limit interactions that you don't want by posting just to your friends.
GoToSocial does NOT use algorithms or collect data about you to suggest content or 'improve your experience'. The timeline is chronological: whatever you see at the top of your timeline is there because it's just been posted, not because it's been selected as interesting (or controversial) based on your personal profile.
GoToSocial is not designed for 'must-follow' influencers with tens of thousands of followers, and it's not designed to be addictive. Your timeline and your experience is shaped by who you follow and how you interact with people, not by metrics of engagement!
GoToSocial doesn't claim to be better than any other application, but it offers something that might be better for you in particular.
Because GoToSocial uses ActivityPub, you can hang out not just with people on your home server, but with people all over the Fediverse, seamlessly.
Federation means that your home server is part of a network of servers all over the world that all communicate using the same protocol. Your data is no longer centralized on one company's servers, but resides on your own server and is shared -- as you see fit -- across a resilient web of servers run by other people.
This federated approach also means that you aren't beholden to arbitrary rules from some gigantic corporation potentially thousands of miles away. Your server has its own rules and culture; your fellow server residents are your neighbors; you will likely get to know your server admins and moderators, or be an admin yourself.
GoToSocial advocates for many small, weird, specialist servers where people can feel at home, rather than a few big and generic ones where one person's voice can get lost in the crowd.
History and Status
This project sprang up in 2021 out of a dissatisfaction with the safety + privacy features of other Federated microblogging/social media applications, and a desire to implement something a little different.
It began as a solo project, and then picked up steam as more developers became interested and jumped on.
The project is still in prerelease, but is already deployable and very useable, and it federates cleanly with most other Fediverse servers (not yet all).
Mastodon API compatibility
The Mastodon API has become the de-facto standard for client communication with federated servers, so GoToSocial has implemented and extended the API with custom functionality.
If you're used to using Mastodon with Tusky or Pinafore, you'll find using GoToSocial a breeze.
Granular post settings
It's important that when you post something, you can choose who sees it.
GoToSocial offers public/unlisted/friends-only/mutuals-only/and direct posts (slide in DMs! -- with consent).
It also allows you to customize how people interact with your posts:
- Local-only posts.
- Rebloggable/boostable toggle.
- 'Likeable' toggle.
- 'Replyable' toggle.
Customizability for admins
Lots of options for admins to play around with, including:
- Easily-adjustable post length.
- Media upload size settings.
Easy to run
No external dependencies apart from a database (or just use SQLite!). Simply download the binary + assets (or Docker container), and run.
GoToSocial plays nice with lower-powered machines like Raspberry Pi, old laptops and tiny $5/month VPSes.
Safety + security features
- Built-in, automatic support for secure HTTPS with LetsEncrypt.
- Strict privacy enforcement for posts and strict blocking logic.
- Import and export allowlists and denylists. Subscribe to community-created blocklists (think Adblocker, but for federation!).
- HTTP signature authentication: GoToSocial requires HTTP Signatures when sending and receiving messages, to ensure that your messages can't be tampered with and your identity can't be forged.
Various federation modes
GoToSocial doesn't apply a one-size-fits-all approach to federation. Who your server federates with should be up to you.
- 'Normal' federation; discover new servers.
- Allowlist-only federation; choose which servers you talk to.
- Zero federation; keep your server private.
Unlike other federated server projects, GoToSocial doesn't include an integrated client front-end (ie., a webapp).
Instead, like Matrix.org's Synapse project, it provides a relatively generic backend server implementation, some beautiful static pages for profiles and posts, and a well-documented API.
On top of this API, web developers are encouraged to build any front-end implementation or mobile application that they wish, whether Tumblr-like, Facebook-like, Twitter-like, or something else entirely.
These cool things will be implemented if time allows (because we really want them):
- Groups and group posting!
- Reputation-based 'slow' federation.
- Community decision making for federation and moderation actions.
- User-selectable custom templates for rendering public posts:
For questions and comments, you can join our Matrix channel at #gotosocial:superseriousbusiness.org. This is the quickest way to reach the devs. You can also mail [email protected].
For bugs and feature requests, please check to see if there's already an issue, and if not, open one or use one of the above channels to make a request (if you don't have a Github account).
In alphabetical order:
Thanks to everyone who has used GtS, opened an issue, suggested something, given funding, or otherwise encouraged or supported the project!
GoToSocial is free software, licensed under the GNU AGPL v3 LICENSE.
Copyright (C) 2021 the GoToSocial Authors.
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