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Theme fund: NGI0 Discovery
Start: 2020-10
End: 2022-10


Share and browse photos in the fediverse with a mobile app

PixelDroid is an Android client for Pixelfed, the federated image sharing platform based on W3C ActivityPub. Our goal is to bring the Pixelfed platform to Android and provide a mobile user experience that excites. We aim to provide feature-parity with the Pixelfed web client as well as add additional features - like image and video editing, capturing and uploading directly from the app. During the project we will also make it easy to use multiple accounts, even across different instances. Additionally, we want to contribute to the Pixelfed API with testing and additional documentation.

Why does this actually matter to end users?

After you take a picture of your brand new car, your smiling baby or the food you were just served, what do you do? You want to show it to everyone you know of course. But do you really know who you are actually sharing your private snapshots with when you post them online? With high grade cameras in nearly every mobile phone and numerous instant messaging apps and social media platforms available, sharing photos is just as easy (and perhaps more popular) than typing out what you want your friends and family to know about your life.

Social platforms and apps make us feel like we are only sharing our images with our own social circle and maybe some faraway friends we met online. But because many so-called 'free' social sharing tools like Instagram actually monetize your data and online activity to sell you personalized ads, your online picture book may not be so private at all. And where do those snapshots, that sometimes contain very personal information about where you live, what you are doing and who you know, actually end up after you clicked that upload button?

When you want to show someone your holiday pictures, you simply want to share those pictures, instead of also handing over a copy to the postal service to check where you went to and possibly send you a cheap flight deal for the coming holidays. Pixelfed is a platform that makes this possible on the internet. Users can choose to run and host the service themselves or choose someone they trust to store their pictures and private data with. No one will track what photos you share and which people you follow. The pictures your friends and family share pop up in your timeline one after the other, without ads or algorithms that decide what you can and cannot see.

Since smartphones have become the everyday computer for a lot of users (sometimes the only device they own), privacy-friendly social media need proper apps to offer the same kind of functionality less privacy-friendly networks offer. PixelDroid is an Android-app for Pixelfed that offers the same functionalities as the website does. This project will add features that fit with federated social networking, like using multiple accounts across different instances. This way Pixelfed is an all-round competitor for anyone who would rather share their pictures and videos with friends and family in a privacy-friendly way.

Logo NLnet: abstract logo of four people seen from above Logo NGI Zero: letterlogo shaped like a tag

This project was funded through the NGI0 Discovery Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 825322.