Decentralized social networks may be the future, but in the meantime, there are plenty of Twitter alternatives to follow. A new app called Yup aims to help by providing a single place to read feeds, follow friends across services, and post to a range of social apps, including Twitter/X itself, as well as Bluesky, Farcaster, Lens and Threads. — although the latter is accompanied by a big caution.
Instagram chief Adam Mosseri announced last month that a Threads API was in the works, which would allow developers to build apps that connect to the Threads ecosystem. However, this API is not yet publicly available, which means Yup has come up with a workaround to support Threads.
The company told TechCrunch that the app “informally uses the internal API” used by the Threads web client, but it plans to migrate to the official API when it is released. Due to this sort of hack, being able to use Threads through Yup means having to disable Instagram’s two-factor authentication (2FA) – an additional way to secure your access to the app via a login code sent via SMS or a authentication app. TechCrunch does not I recommend you disable 2FAalthough an app to post to Threads, Twitter and Bluesky is in high demand.
That said, we still thought it was interesting to comment on the launch of Yup, as an example of the fracture in the social application ecosystem following the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk, now called months, new Twitter rivals emerged. and developed, including the open source decentralized platform Mastodon and Threads, which promises to integrate with the ActivityPub protocol that powers Mastodon and a broader “variety” of decentralized social applications.
But these aren’t the only efforts underway to rebuild the social web. Competing protocols, like the decentralized Farcaster protocol and the web3-based Lens, are also in the running, as is Bluesky’s AT protocol.
At launch, even Yup itself doesn’t support the entire social app ecosystem. Mastodon is notably absent, as is Nostr, the decentralized protocol that powers apps like Damus and others, which is favored by Twitter co-founder and former CEO, now Block CEO, Jack Dorsey.
Yes, says it plans to add support for these services in the future. But, currently, the cross-posting app supports Twitter/X, Bluesky, Farcaster, Threads, and Lens.
Yup co-founders Nir Kabessa and Vernon Johnson met at Columbia University where they both became involved in the web3 space and open social media.
“What we’ve realized is one of the benefits of these new open social networks, like Bluesky, is how interoperable they are with each other and sort of ‘aggregable’ and ‘consolidable’, all as a consumer product,” Kabessa explains. “And this would not only allow users to have a more powerful consolidated experience, where all their friends are in one place, even though these platforms are very new, but it would also allow them to establish their social graphs on other platforms and protocols while continuing to use things as they normally do,” he added.
The team believes Yup could serve as a tool for consumers and creators to grow their audiences across platforms by cross-posting and engaging with open protocols, while maintaining their presence on more social apps. important ones like Twitter/X.
However, Yup’s support for X requires it to pay $5,000 per month in API fees. The company is financing this expense thanks to a $3.5 million funding round it raised a little less than two years ago. This round was led by Distributed Global with Dapper Labs (creator of CryptoKitties) and other investors, including Bill Block, CEO of Miramax, and Nader al-Naji, founder of BitClout, who also participated.
Yes, it had previously focused on a different project around ratings and rewards, but it turned to social app aggregation about a year and a half ago, we’re told.
Although some tools allow consumers to cross-post to multiple social sites, such as Fedica which supports X, Mastodon, and Bluesky, among others, there are not many cross-posting tools available for X and Threads and for the widest range of decentralized tools. consumer applications. (To be fair, we’re not sure how long Yup will be allowed to run given its hack for Threads support, but the company noted that it has yet to receive a response from Instagram. His app also managed to get approvals on both the App Store and Google Play, for what that’s worth.)
As for the Yup app itself, the experience is everything you’d expect. After connecting your accounts, you can choose which apps you want to post to from its main “Write” screen.
Yup also supports features like search (for people, posts, and bookmarks); notifications from all your applications; and a variety of feeds, including a “For You” algorithmic feed, a tracking feed, and those devoted to topics like web3, AI, NFTs, music, podcasts, videos, and others. The app also offers a personalized timeline feed for each platform. However, during testing, we were unable to regularly update some of these feeds, even though we had our accounts connected. For this reason, we cannot recommend Yup as a dedicated navigation app.
There are other areas that will also present a challenge for Yup in the future, such as SEO or citing posts from one platform to another. We think more work will need to be done to make this a fully functional application for anything beyond cross-posting.
Still, the fact that an app like Yup has emerged is an indicator of the current situation with so many competing protocols for a decentralized social web. This doesn’t make things easier for consumers looking to move away from big tech companies or for developers – it makes things more fragmented and confusing. A decentralized social network is great in theory, but not if there are half a dozen protocols that don’t interact. Hopefully some sort of consensus will eventually be reached.
In the meantime, we guess there’s Yup.
For now, using the app is free. A future version may offer a paid subscription to support its costs in the future.