November 28, 2022

As Twitter users chatter about the platform’s possible imminent demise amid mass layoffs and resignations, and reports that the employee app is starting to slow down, some have turned to Mastodon as a potential replacement.

The decentralized social network was founded in 2016 as a nonprofit by German software developer Eugen Rochko (the project’s only full-time employee).

While it has some similarities to Twitter, there are also major differences.

There are no ads, as Mastodon is funded by donations and grants.

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Its feed is organized chronologically, unlike the algorithm-based feeds of Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.

It consists of a network of servers. While each runs independently, people on their own servers – or a Mastodon “instance” – Ability to contact people on different servers, as long as those servers are not blocked.

This photo taken on November 7, 2022 shows the logos of social networks Twitter and Mastodon reflected on a smartphone screen.
((Photo by Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images))

According to TechCrunch, some servers allow anyone to join, while others require an invitation or approval.

The outlet also pointed out that Mastodon, as part of “Fediverse,” grants users access to other decentralized social networks, and because it’s open source, anyone can download, modify, and install Mastodon on their own servers.

Users can write posts of up to 500 characters, and share photos and videos.

They can also view the general public stream and follow accounts. Mastodon also uses hashtags.

SPAIN - In this photo illustration, the Mastodon homepage is seen displayed on a mobile phone screen. More than 200,000 new users have reportedly flooded the social media app after Elon Musk took over Twitter.

SPAIN – In this photo illustration, the Mastodon homepage is seen displayed on a mobile phone screen. More than 200,000 new users have reportedly flooded the social media app after Elon Musk took over Twitter.
((Photo illustration by Davide Bonaldo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images))

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However, Mastodon has officially retired the term “toot,” which is used to describe posts. The “beep” button has now been replaced by a “publish” button.

There are more than 1 million users, Rochko said, and nearly half of them signed up after Twitter CEO Elon Musk took over in October.

By comparison, Twitter reported 238 million daily active users viewed ads as of the second quarter of this year, while Facebook said it had 1.98 billion daily active users as of the third quarter.

A man holds a mobile phone displaying Mastodon and Twitter icons.

A man holds a mobile phone displaying Mastodon and Twitter icons.
(Reuters/Lise Nisner)

It’s worth noting that finding people to follow is harder on Mastadon than on centrally managed Twitter or Facebook, and the rapid growth has caused some problems.

One major difference is validation, as there is no formal process for profiling.

“Document-based verification and blue ticks are impossible without a central authority. However, Mastodon can cross-reference the links you put on your profile to prove that you are the true owner of those links. If one of those links One is your Mastodon suggestion that if a profile is well known and trustworthy, it can serve as “the next best option after authentication”.

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or, People can add check marks An emoji next to their name, according to Mashable.

Either way it’s cheaper than the $8 per month fee.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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