Federating Flipboard Magazines

4 min readFeb 13, 2024
  • This was originally posted by Mike McCue and reshared here.

Bringing the power of curated feeds to Mastodon and the broader Fediverse

Social media is at its best when somebody thoughtfully recommends a story that you would not have otherwise discovered. This is the power of curation. And it’s why in 2012 we introduced Flipboard Magazines, a simple yet powerful way to curate articles, videos, images, podcasts and more into thematic feeds that anyone on Flipboard could follow and engage with. Since then, Flipboard users and publishers around the world have curated millions of Magazines informing and inspiring millions of others in their work, life and play. Each Flipboard Magazine can have one or more contributors to a feed around which a community can form as people comment and engage with each other.

Today we are beginning to make some of these Magazines available to everyone in the Fediverse, representing another important step in our journey to fully federate Flipboard. This morning we federated 1,000 Magazines curated by the publishers we started testing with in December along with another 20 new partners, significantly expanding the variety of high-quality news, lifestyle and local journalism now available in the Fediverse. Each of these Magazines are now native ActivityPub feeds which can be discovered and followed by anyone on Mastodon and other ActivityPub based apps.

Curated feeds make social media a lot more effective and useful. For example, you may want to see all of someone’s photography posts but you may have no interest in the stories they post about politics. Or you may really like a publisher’s coverage of something you care a lot about but following their account could easily overwhelm your Following feed.

Flipboard Magazines solve these problems by enabling people and publishers to curate stories about a specific topic in a single collection so it’s easy to find and follow just what you care about. For example: if you want to keep up on the war in Ukraine, Euronews curates the Russia-Ukraine Crisis Magazine. If you want deep dives on the U.S. immigration discussion, you can follow Axios’s Immigration Magazine. If you want local news, try any of the 26 AxiosLocal Magazines that report on cities across the country, from San Francisco to Chicago or Thrillist collections like Explore NYC. If you’re a sports fan you usually only want to see stories about a specific team or region — now you can follow any of FanSided’s 90 team Magazines, like Los Angeles Lakers and Yankees, to get just the stories relevant to your team.

When a Flipboard Magazine is federated it becomes a native ActivityPub feed and appears just like any other Mastodon account you can follow. You’ll see a description of the Magazine along with the posts that have been made since it was federated. Note that recently federated Magazines will take time to propagate throughout the Fediverse so many of these accounts will initially appear blank or show only a few posts. If you want to see all of the past posts from a Magazine, click on “Browse more on the original profile”. Once you follow the Magazine from Mastodon you’ll see all new posts to that Magazine in your Following feed.

Here’s a small sampling of some of the Flipboard Magazines that are now part of the Fediverse (*note: links will open in Mastodon if you’re logged into your Mastodon account):

Adventure Travel by Outside

Apple News by The Verge

Artificial Intelligence and Misinformation by The News Literacy Project

Arts and Culture by Smithsonian

Beauty by Hello Beautiful

Business by Semafor

Climate Tech by Bloomberg Green

Eater DC by Eater

eBikes by New Atlas

Environment and Energy by The Conversation

Family Travel by Frommers

Fashion Forward by Refinery 29

Fast Co. Design by Fast Company

Film by IndieWire

Gardening and Plants by The Spruce

Healthy Eating by Real Simple

History by WorldAtlas

Humans by ScienceAlert

National Security by The Intercept

News Straight from Space by Mashable

Philosophy: Ancient & Modern by The Collector

Politics & Society by The Conversation

Stories of Black America by Flipboard’s The Culture Desk

Throwbacks by SPIN

Wellness by Allure

Zora by Medium

I believe that curation is core to providing people with a high quality and inspiring social media experience and I’m excited to begin bringing thoughtfully curated feeds to the Fediverse. Now that we’ve completed the changes needed to federate Magazines, we’re gearing up to federate all public accounts on Flipboard with millions of Magazines in the next few weeks. We’re also putting the finishing touches on a new version of our app that will enable Flipboard curators to see and reply to the comments, likes and boosts they get from users on Mastodon. Stay tuned and keep sending us feedback as our federation journey continues.

- mike




News for our time, personalized for any interest. Available in any app store and on the Web at flipboard.com.