Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter has seemingly prompted thousands of users to seek greener pastures. The Tesla CEO's vision of unrestricted free speech doesn't sit well with several users who believe that it will foster a culture of hate and misinformation.
Mastodon, seen as one of the Twitter's main alternatives, gained 1,41,000 monthly average users (MAUs) since 25 April – the day Elon struck a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion, according to its CEO Eugen Rochko.
The sudden influx even caused Mastodon's servers to slow down.
“Mastodon social is being slow right now, as far as I can tell because there are twice as many people using it at the same time as ever. I’m working on making it go fast again," Rochko wrote on the platform.
The effect was also felt by other social media platforms like CounterSocial, which underwent "infrastructure upgrades" to deal with "an unprecedented influx" of new users.
What is Mastodon?
Mastodon is an open-source social networking service which allows users to either host their own ‘community’ or join an already existing one.
The service is remarkably similar to Twitter, but the setup is different: the ‘communities’ are servers which are connected to each other in a decentralised social network, part of the larger Fediverse.
Users can communicate freely with users from other Mastodon communities.
Mastodon was in the news in November 2019 when senior Supreme Court advocate Sanjay Hegde, who was banned from Twitter, said he was migrating to Mastodon.
The service claims that it is “resistant to financial, technical and organisational issues, as well as government interference” due to its decentralised nature.
CounterSocial is a Twitter-like platform that says it has more than 60 million monthly visitors and claims to be free from bots, trolls, and fake news. It also claims that it doesn't collect and sell user data.
The platform even blocks all posts from certain countries that it deems to be malicious players, including China and Pakistan.
Donald Trump's Truth Social
Truth Social is a social media platform backed by former United States president Donald Trump, who floated the idea when he was banned Facebook and Twitter in 2021.
The far-right platform claims to encourage "an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology." Elon, in a tweet, commented that the app "exists because Twitter censored free speech."
On Tuesday, after Musk's deal was announced, downloads jumped to more than 55,000 from less than 6,000 the week before, according to Apptopia estimates reported by Bloomberg, propelling the app to the top of the Apple Store in the US.
Truth Social is built on Mastodon's code and the latter's lawyers sent a formal letter to the former ask asking it to make its source code publicly available, Motherboard reported.
Meanwhile, homegrown microblogging site Koo, which supports various regional languages, is undergoing a facelift aimed to enhance user engagement on the platform.
In the last two years the Tiger Global-backed app has grown from zero to 30 million downloads, CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna told The Week. On Tuesday he claimed that Koo is the only microblogging site globally which isn’t run by a single person.
(With inputs from Motherboard, Bloomberg and The Week)