There is a lot to digest there. I agree that he set up some straw men and you’ve rightfully called them out. At the same time the problems he’s brought up I’m not sure are solved by the methodology you’ve laid out. For example, look at availability and scalability. As you point out federation does prevent a system wide outage but because these are user-focused networks the real problem is what is the availability to a particular user. If their server is down, or overloaded, they effectively have no access to the system at large. Worse, if their server goes offline for good all of their data goes offline with it. That is partially dealt with with nomadic identities, but that assumes that there is sufficient warning to perform the operation *and* that the user was logging into the system during that period.

Federation really doesn’t deal with the privacy issue much at all. Server admins have carte blanche to read all of the data on the system, public and private, for most of the fediverse implementations. Without the information being encrypted at rest anyone with access to the system has access to all data on the system. For the sake of discussion we can assume good intention on the part of the operator/admin and that they won’t read information they shouldn’t, however a related problem is security. Even with armies of people trying to keep the commercial centralized system secure there are still data breaches. In the case of fediverse hosted instances we don’t have those resources and therefore we have to hope that an individual host has successfully secured their system, doesn’t fall for a spear phishing email, etc. It’s a big if. Thankfully the damage would be limited to data on that particular instance however again, from the individual user’s point of view that is all of their private data. You at least don’t have to worry about malicious privacy violation practices on the part of the developers, but the rest are pretty much the same.

With respect to control, people say they want it but they want it transparently and seamlessly. Why do people still have Yahoo accounts, or AOL accounts in active use. It’s because it still works and the cost of migrating in terms of updating contacts, pulling all your information down, etc., is greater than zero. Human nature is pretty consistent on this behavior of sticking with the devil you know than the devil you don’t. Human nature is also pretty consistent on default behaviors will get chosen far more often than not. It’s one of the reasons why number of organ donors in Austria (+90%) is far higher than Germany (~15%) last decade. Making it so using the fediverse and having control of your data is the default behavior is how we will get more adoption and usage. The how of that is of course a very difficult problem.