Thousands of Twitter users are fleeing the social-media platform for a new app called Mastodon.
- Since Elon Musk took over Twitter on October 28, the site has been rocked with chaos and indecisive actions as Musk attempts to rebuild the platform into a free-speech-friendly app with a clear vision.
- Celebrities like Stephen Fry and Whoopi Goldberg have deactivated their large accounts in protest and left for Mastodon, a social-media platform similar to Twitter that has operated since March 2016.
- The new platform has twice the character limit, “Toots” instead of “Tweets,” and a more democratic approach to user preferences and content moderation.
- The platform has increased from 400,000 users to more than 1 million in two weeks.
- Mastodon’s relatively unintuitive open-source software and lack of major community discussion have shied away some users who find it a poor replacement for Twitter.
Why it’s News
There have been multiple attempts to create mass exoduses off Twitter in the aftermath of major political upheavals. Conservative activists have attempted to migrate large groups to alternative platforms like Parler, Getter, and former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social. These attempts have largely failed—with users eventually returning to Twitter and Facebook.
“Few people outside computer programmers or engineers had heard of the social network Mastodon before Elon Musk bought Twitter. Now, Twitter users queasy about changes the eccentric billionaire is making are signing up for Mastodon accounts in droves. Mastodon reached a million users earlier this week,” says NPR.
Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko designed Mastodon to be more democratic in how it allows users to set up preference settings for individual servers and communities. This comes at the cost of creating much smaller groups and communities than Twitter permits, thus making it a potentially poor replacement for Twitter addicts.
“People come to Twitter because they want to be part of a community of people crowdsourcing information and opinions. It’s really a place where journalists go to get a heads up on a headline, get a quote by the source, build their stories and talk to their audiences,” says journalism professor Karen North.
“But as much as Musk-skeptic celebs try to convince us that Mastodon is the new hip thing, the truth will always out. A few days ago New York Times columnist Paul Krugman announced that he was opening a Mastodon account ‘as a precaution against the possible Muskocalypse on this site.’ Within a few hours, Krugman posted an update, saying: ‘so far things are not going well on Mastodon. After the initial post, nothing I try to post is showing up. And despite setting it *not* to send an email every time someone follows me, it’s sending them. I hope these are just teething problems,’” reports Spectator World.