The future of decentralized social networking holds promise, but until then, there is a multitude of Twitter alternatives to explore. Yup, a new app available at Yup.io, aims to simplify this experience by providing a single platform for reading feeds, connecting with friends across various services, and cross-posting to a range of social apps, including Twitter/X, Bluesky, Farcaster, Lens, and Threads. However, the support for Threads comes with a significant caveat.
Last month, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, announced the development of a Threads API, which would enable developers to create apps that integrate with the Threads ecosystem. Since the API is not yet publicly available, Yup has devised a workaround to offer support for Threads.
The company disclosed to TechCrunch that the app currently “informally uses the internal API” utilized by the Threads web client, with plans to switch to the official API upon its release. However, this workaround entails turning off Instagram’s two-factor authentication (2FA) to use Threads via Yup. It’s important to note that despite the demand for a cross-posting app for Threads, Twitter, and Bluesky, disabling 2FA is not recommended by TechCrunch.
Nevertheless, the launch of Yup underscores the fragmented state of the social app landscape following Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, now known as X. This has led to the emergence and growth of new Twitter competitors, including the open-source decentralized platform Mastodon and Threads, which aims to integrate with the ActivityPub protocol that powers Mastodon and a broader “fediverse” of decentralized social apps.
However, other efforts are also underway to reconstruct the social web. Competing protocols such as the decentralized protocol Farcaster, the web3-powered Lens, and the AT Protocol from Bluesky are also vying for attention.
At its launch, Yup does not offer full support for the social app ecosystem. Notably absent are Mastodon and Nostr, the decentralized protocol behind apps like Damus and others, which is favored by Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and former CEO of Twitter, now Block CEO. Yup has indicated that it is exploring the possibility of adding support for these services in the future, but currently, the cross-posting app only supports Twitter/X, Bluesky, Farcaster, Threads, and Lens.
Kabessa explained, “One of the advantages of these new open social networks, like Bluesky, is how much they’re interoperable with one another and sort of aggregatable and consolidatable all as a consumer product.” He further added, “That not only would allow users to have a more powerful kind of consolidated experience, where all their friends are in one place, even though these platforms are very new, but it also allows them to establish their social graphs on other platforms and protocols while continuing to use things as they normally do.”
The team believes that Yup could serve as a tool for consumers and creators to build their audiences across platforms by cross-posting and engaging with open protocols while maintaining their presence on larger social apps such as Twitter/X.
However, supporting X necessitates Yup to pay $5,000 per month in API fees. The company is funding this expense from a $3.5 million seed round it secured nearly two years ago, led by Distributed Global with other participants including Dapper Labs (makers of CryptoKitties), Miramax CEO Bill Block, and BitClout founder Nader al-Naji.
Yup initially focused on a different project related to ratings and rewards but shifted its focus to social app aggregation around a year and a half ago.
While some tools enable consumers to cross-post to multiple social sites, such as Fedica, which supports X, Mastodon, and Bluesky, among others, few options are available for cross-posting to both X and Threads and the broader array of decentralized apps catering to consumers. It remains uncertain how long Yup will be permitted to operate given its workaround for Threads support, but the company has indicated that it has not faced any resistance from Instagram so far. Additionally, its app has been approved for both the App Store and Google Play.
Regarding the app itself, after connecting accounts, users can select the apps they wish to post to from Yup’s main “compose” screen.
Yup also offers features such as search functionality for people, posts, and bookmarks, notifications from various apps, and a range of feeds, including “For You,” “Following,” and topic-based feeds like web3, AI, NFTs, music, podcasts, videos, and more. The app provides a custom chronological feed for each platform. However, in tests, some feeds did not update regularly despite account connections, leading to reservations about recommending Yup as a dedicated browsing app.
Going forward, Yup will face challenges in areas such as referencing or quoting posts from one platform to another. Further development is required to transform the app into a fully functional tool beyond cross-posting.
Despite the complexity of the current state of decentralized social web protocols, the emergence of an app like Yup underscores the ongoing competition and fragmentation. This can present challenges for consumers seeking alternatives to Big Tech companies as well as for developers. The ultimate goal is interoperability across protocols, and it is hoped that consensus will be reached in the future.
For now, Yup is available for free, with the potential for a paid subscription in future versions to support ongoing costs.