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Fediverse Symposium: Recordings are now online


More than 70 people came together, in Cologne on 22 September, to get an insight into the Fediverse and to discuss the importance of decentralised social networks for our society. If you were not able to join our Fediverse Symposium or want to re-watch the talks, we now have the German-language recordings on our PeerTube instance for you!

Image showing the back of the participants of the Fediverse Day event raising their hands with a speaker on stage in the background

We, the FSFE, organised the Fediverse symposium “The world after Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. A new generation of the Internet?” together with the Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Nordrhein-Westfalen (Centre for Civic Education of North Rhine-Westphalia) and the VHS Köln (Adult Education Centre Cologne). It was one of the first symposiums dedicated to the Fediverse in Germany, aimed at multipliers in political education, teachers, representatives of public institutions and educational establishments, as well as all interested stakeholders.

In the first part of the symposium, several long-time Fediverse power users activists gave an overview of decentralised social networks, available federated services, their relevance for democratic societies and their strengths and weaknesses. This was followed by a practical insight from the perspective of a Fediverse instance moderator, before the guests had the opportunity to participate in several workshops on the practical use of Fediverse services, the operation of own instances and the transfer of knowledge about decentralised social networks in an educational context.

Watch the talks now!

As keynote speaker, publicist Katharina Nocun placed the decentralised social networks known as Fediverse in the larger social context, referring to the current situation around centralised "walled gardens" and the dangers they pose to the democratic public sphere.

“Keynote: Die Infrastruktur der offenen Gesellschaft im digitalen Zeitalter - Katharina Nocun (Publizistin)”. Watch it in our Peertube instance

The participants were able to gain an overview of the Fediverse concept, the various services and the underlying ActivityPub protocol in the input of Friendica developer and FSFE staff member Tobias Diekershoff. Find his presentation here.

““Input: Was ist das Fediverse? Überblick und Abgrenzung - Tobias Diekershoff (friendica-Entwickler)”. Watch it in our Peertube instance

Stephanie Henkel aka Ückück, one of the moderators of the dresden.network Mastodon instance, brought a constructive-critical perspective on the Fediverse to the symposium. She spoke about the questions and decisions that arise when entering the Fediverse, about the tension between freedom of expression and the need for protected spaces, about moderation as well as the growth of the Fediverse - not without also suggesting solutions. Download her presentation here.

“Input: Potenziale und Probleme zentralisierter und dezentraler Dienste - Stephanie Henkel (Moderatorin bei dresden.network)”. Watch it in our Peertube instance

Sascha Foerster, co-founder and moderator of the bonn.social Mastodon instance, gave a refreshing practical insight into the challenges of setting up and running a Fediverse instance, including some examples highlighting the importance of rules, moderation and backups. You can watch his presentation here.

“Input:"Praxisinput: Aus dem Alltag eines Fediverse-Admins - Sascha Foerster (Bonn.digital)". Watch it in our Peertube channel

The workshops were not recorded for technical and data protection reasons. However, the workshop leaders shared a summary of the workshop results with the audience.

“Input:"Zusammenfassung der Workshops (Björn Friedrich, Katharina Nocun, Tobias Diekershoff, padeluun, moderation: Friederike von Franqué)". Watch it in our Peertube instance

Material from the workshops is also available for download:

The closing panel brought all the speakers together once again on stage, in conversation with moderator Friederike von Franqué (Wikimedia Deutschland e.V.). The discussion revolved around future perspectives for the Fediverse, including the question of how institutions and associations can be supported on their way into the Fediverse and at what point a clear break with the centralised platform services will be necessary.

“Abschlusspodium: Wie sieht die Zukunft des Fediverse aus? - Björn Friedrich, Katharina Nocun, padeluun, Sascha Foerster, Stephanie Henkel, Tobias Diekershoff, moderation: Friederike von Franqué". Watch it in our Peertube instance

We would like to thank all participants of the symposium, especially our speakers and the moderator Friederike von Franqué, as well as the Landeszentrale NRW and the VHS Cologne for making this event possible, providing funds and the venue, and also contributing to conceptual planning.

Your donation helps us to advance software freedom across Europe!

In particular, we would like to thank everyone who donates to help us organise events like this and others to promote Free Software, for example, through our Fedivgov campaign, which encourages public institutions across Europe to step into the Fediverse.

If you would like to support our work for software freedom, please consider making a regular or one-time donation to FSFE. It is your donations that make our work possible!

About the FSFE

Free Software Foundation Europe is a charity that empowers users to control technology. Software is deeply involved in all aspects of our lives. It is important that this technology empowers rather than restricts us. Free Software gives everybody the rights to use, study, share, and improve software. These rights help support other fundamental rights like freedom of speech, freedom of press, and privacy.