The BBC has released its own “experimental” Mastodon server, marking one of the first major news outlets to establish an instance on the Twitter alternative. You can access the server at social.bbccovering posts from a handful of BBC accounts, including BBC Radio 4, BBC Taster, BBC Research & Development, and a few more.
The BBC says the outlet will test the server for six months before deciding “if and how to continue.” While you can’t create accounts or posts on the server, you can still leave replies from the instance you’re using, as well as follow their accounts.
Despite this, the BBC still has some concerns about content moderation, as Mastodon does not have a dedicated moderation team and leaves it up to individual servers. This means the BBC won’t have any control over what people say in their replies to its posts, but says it’s an “acceptable risk”.
“Our goal is to know how much value you have provided and how much work and cost is involved”
However, this hands-off approach to content moderation can backfire, as Stanford researchers recently discovered that Mastodon has become abundant with child sexual abuse material (CSAM) due to differing moderation policies across instances. .
“Fediverse’s principles, with an emphasis on local control, quality content and social value, are much more aligned with our public purposes than those of overtly commercial networks like Threads or Twitter,” the BBC writes. “Our goal is to know how much value you have provided and how much work and cost are involved.”
However, he financial times close it just a few months later, stating: “Mastodon has proven to be more complicated than it’s worth.” In addition to raising legal and reputational concerns, the financial times it says that the growth of its server resulted in an “exponential effect” in its cost of maintenance. However, the BBC might have a very different experience, as it doesn’t allow users to create accounts on the instance.