Popular microblogging site Twitter on Tuesday, 5 November, told senior Supreme Court advocate Sanjay Hegde that his account, which was suspended twice in two days, will not be restored.
Hegde has sent a legal notice to Twitter Inc and has said he is left with no option but to “migrate to an alternate platform like Mastodon.”
Following this, several social media-users have opened accounts on Mastodon in solidarity with the senior advocate.
Here’s all you need to know about Mastodon:
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.
“Thousands of independent communities running Mastodon form a coherent network, where while every planet is different, being part of one is being part of the whole,” says Mastodon’s homepage.
The social media service proclaims that it is “resistant to financial, technical and organisational issues, as well as government interference” due to its decentralised nature.
WHY ARE PEOPLE LEAVING TWITTER TO JOIN IT?
Twitter said that Hegde’s account had violated “specifically the Twitter Rules against using hateful or sensitive content in your profile.”
The senior lawyer says it was because the meaning of his cover picture was misinterpreted.
“The cover picture was of August Landmesser at a Nazi rally where Hitler was present. Landmesser refused to do the Nazi salute when everybody around him was doing it,” Hegde said.
Following public outrage, Twitter reinstated Hegde’s account on 28 October after removing the photo. However, the very next day, it was suspended again.
Since then, several prominent social media users, including former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, musician Vishal Dadlani and columnist Mitali Saran have created their accounts on the Mastodon in support of Hegde, criticising Twitter’s “arbitrary” policies.
HOW DO YOU CREATE A MASTODON ACCOUNT?
To create a Mastodon account you can visit the website’s homepage and click on the ‘Get Started’ button which will take you to the ‘Sign Up’ page.
Here you can browse and choose a community you want to create your account with; each has its own set of rules and priorities. One of the most popular general communities is @mastodon.social.
According to the website, “all you need to do to sign up is choose a server. Just like when signing up for an e-mail address, one server is going to be hosting your account and be part of your identity.”
You can follow and talk to anyone from any server, regardless of which community you join.
Once you click on ‘Join’, you will need to fill up a sign-in form which will ask you to enter your email ID and create a username and password. Complete this step, and you’re all set.
The interface is similar to Twitter’s and each post, or ‘hoot’, has a character limit of 500.