Vivaldi Browser supports Mastodon to free online communication from the stranglehold of Big Tech.
The Oslo-based company became the first browser to integrate today Mastodon – just a few weeks after launch its own server On the federated social network.
The moves are intended to accelerate Mastodon’s adoption while drawing more users to Vivaldi’s privacy-focused browser. They arrive amid a backlash against Silicon Valley’s closed platforms and lock-in algorithms, which spread deeper into the mainstream after Elon Musk bought Twitter.
Since the richest person in the world took over the bird app, Mastodon’s active user base has skyrocketed 300,000 to 2.6 million – a growth that was difficult to accommodate.
The sudden influx has overloaded many servers (aka instances) on the federated social network, rendering them offline and overwhelming the volunteers who maintain them. Vivaldi’s instance has the capacity to relieve some of the tension.
“We wanted to lend a hand.
Jon von Tetzchner, the co-founder of both Vivaldi and the Opera browser, told TNW the plans were first discussed more than five years ago.
“To be honest, we should have joined then, but when we saw the influx of users to Mastodon and we saw that some servers were struggling, we wanted to lend a hand,” he said.
Von Tetzchner also hopes to lower the threshold for entering Mastodon.
Mastodon is one fedivers of many connected instances, meaning anyone can create or join a community of their preference, but still interact with members of other instances. Unlike Twitter, no plutocrat can dictate all the rules.
Still, this decentralized approach — as well as a new interface — may put off novices. Many Mastodon newcomers complain about the complexity of joining and using the system. The integration of Vivaldi could ease the transition.
If you already have a Vivaldi account, you will automatically get one for Mastodon. To access the Vivaldi instance, just tap the network’s sidebar icon in the latest desktop version of the browser. Users can also add any Mastodon instance they want as a web panel to this sidebar, creating a split screen view.
Of course, Vivaldi also hopes that the strategy will attract more users to its browser. The six-year-old company claims more than 2.4 million active users, but that number is negligible compared to an estimated 3.3 billion on Chrome.
“There’s a win-win situation here,” von Tetzchner said. “We’re helping Mastodon grow and obviously that’s helping us grow as people choose to use Vivaldi’s Mastodon.”
Von Tetzchner adds that it is a natural combination. Like Mastodon, Vivaldi is billed as a community-driven system that is controlled by users rather than companies. Unlike many Big Tech platforms, the companies also pledge to embrace open standards while foregoing user profiling and advertising.
These principles go back to the early web, which was made to be distributed.
“Big Tech has tried to reverse this movement and has had some success,” he said von Tetzchner. “Silos were created where content was only available through those silos. This is especially visible with regard to social networks.
“Mastodon and the Fediversum change all that. You can connect through one of the many servers. You can even switch servers if you don’t like the one you’re connected to.”
The Vivaldi integration is also proof that alliances across open platforms are getting stronger. They are still a long way from competing with the tech giants, but further collaboration could make the alternatives more attractive to the general public.