social computing/federated

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Federated social computing is social computing wherein multiple servers interconnect as peers without a single central directory server; it can continue to function even if some of the servers on which it is hosted are taken off the internet for any reason.


"Distributed" is often used almost synonymously with "federated" in this context, although distributed computing can involve a central server or hierarchy.

Other near-synonyms for "federated" include "decentralized" and "peer-to-peer". "Social computing" may also be referred to as "social networking", and a social computing application may be called a "social network", although those terms have slightly different meanings; see social computing.


The primary goals of distributed social computing are:

  • to prevent concentrations of arbitrary power, which is prone to abuse (see issuepedia:Google+/policy/naming)
  • to ensure that the social network can survive various events:
    • server failure
    • company failure
    • domain name seizure
    • internet connectivity disruption

Given that each node in a distributed network helps satisfy these goals, we will want to maximize the number of different implementations of the network. Any design for distributed social computing software should therefore be platform-agnostic.



In Testing

These both provide a server running the software (partly as a demonstration, partly for testing, and partly as a fallback for those who don't want to install the software themselves) and also provide the software. So far, all known distributed social network services and software are provided for free, as it would be very difficult to impose a fee without driving users away.

  • Synereo (official) is in closed development as of 2015-02-10, but will be open source when released.

Under Development

Apparently Defunct

  • Appleseed (site): this purports to be distributed, but after installing it and playing around with it for a few minutes, I can't see how to connect it to other nodes. This may be a feature to be added later. Other features did not seem to be working correctly. --Woozle 21:31, 18 August 2011 (EDT) Now redirects to a Wikipedia page. --Woozle (talk) 07:55, 14 January 2017 (EST)
  • Safebook (site) is especially privacy/security conscious Site is a domain squatter as of 2017-01-14.
  • StatusNet (site) appears to be designed for federation, and also supports OAuth/OStatus Site is a domain squatter as of 2017-01-14.


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