In the week since Elon Musk took over Twitter, the number of people signing up for a small social network called Mastodon has surged.
You may not have heard of Mastodon, which has been around since 2016, but now it’s growing rapidly. Some are fleeing Twitter for it or at least seeking out a second place to post their thoughts online as the much more well-known social network faces layoffs, controversial product changes, an expected shift in its approach to content moderation and a jump in hateful rhetoric.
There may be no clear alternative to Twitter, a uniquely influential platform that is fast-moving, text-heavy, conversational and news-oriented. But Mastodon scratches a certain itch. The service has a similar look to Twitter, with a timeline of short updates sorted chronologically rather than algorithmically. It lets users join a slew of different servers run by various groups and individuals, rather than one central platform controlled by a single company like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
Unlike larger social networks, Mastodon is both free to use and free of ads. It’s operated by a nonprofit run by Mastodon creator Eugen Rochko, and is supported via crowdfunding.
Rochko said in an interview Thursday that Mastodon gained 230,000 users since October 27, when Musk took control of Twitter. It now has 655,000 active users each month, he said. Twitter reported in July that it had nearly 238 million daily active monetizable users. [Continue reading…]