Goodbye Elon Musk, hello Mastodon: the social network welcomes the disappointed of Twitter

Vanity Fair

Imagine: a social network where the messages posted are called toots, where they cannot exceed more than 500 characters, where trends are followed by hashtags and where there is a personal messaging space. Twitter? No, Mastodon. For the past week, those dissatisfied with the arrival of Elon Musk as owner of Twitter have found a social network of refuge in Mastodon.

In a tweet posted last Thursday, the social network was pleased with its growing number of users: “The number of people who have switched to #Mastodon in the last week alone has exceeded 230,000, and many people have resumed old accounts, growing the network to over 655,000 active users, the highest level ever! »

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Meanwhile, on Twitter, it’s nonsense: the first measure (paying) announced by Elon Musk is postponed because it undermines the reliability of the network during an election period in the United States, the parody accounts abound, half of the employees were fired before some of them were called back two days later, because their technical skills were already lamented… Inevitably, alongside this chaos, Mastodon cut a good figure.

No algorithm, no advertising, no private company

This social network created in 2016 by the German Eugen Rochko is very similar in form to Twitter. The only major difference in concept: Mastodon is divided into more than 3,300 servers divided by themes, countries, languages… So many possible combinations, managed by an administrator who takes care of moderation for his server. On its site, the network indicates: “Each server creates its own rules […] which are applied locally and not vertically like on commercial social media, making it the most flexible to meet the needs of different groups of people. » The promise of a more reliable and effective moderation than a moderation made in Musk? Nothing is less certain, since the independence of each server is also conducive to excesses, although Mastodon promotes “active moderation against racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia”.

Basically, Mastodon and Twitter differ considerably, since the first does not belong to the private digital giants, united under the name of GAFAM. Without algorithm, without advertising, it is based on a non-profit organization, financed by donations. Everyone can become the sponsor of the network, as indicated on the official website of the platform: “You can donate monthly via Patreon or commit to becoming a partner through our platform. We are grateful for the companies and people who make Mastodon possible. »

Whatever the flaws related to moderation, it seems that this last argument is enough to convince the twittos, disappointed to see the portfolio of their favorite ex-social network held by the richest man in the world, boss of Tesla and SpaceX .

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