There’s really never been a shortage of reasons to spend less time on Twitter. Even before Elon Musk’s tumultuous takeover, the platform had long been affected wrong information, hate speech, trouble and other illnesses that make it unwelcome.
There’s never been a better time to get off Twitter. The chaos caused by Elon Musk at the company has breathed new life into a host of alternative platforms and has inspired a new wave of competitive efforts to win over disillusioned Twitter users.
Out of all the alternatives available, none has benefited as much as Mastodon. The open-source service was created in 2016 and first rose to prominence in 2017, when some Twitter users were upset with the changes the company had made to the functionality of @-replies. At the time, however, it didn’t gain much traction outside of a small group of die-hard enthusiasts.
All that has changed since the second time Musk announced he wanted to buy Twitter. Mastodon saw one immediately point back in April and momentum is only increasing, according to the nonprofit. “Mastodon has recently exploded in popularity, up from approx. From 300k monthly active users to 2.5 million between October and November, with more and more journalists, political figures, writers, actors and organizations moving in,” founder Eugen Rochko wrote in a recent report. blog post.
This service is not a perfect analog of Twitter. Its platform, which runs on thousands of servers, can make registration a bit confusing. And some of the platform’s most popular hosts, like mastodon.social, have sometimes paused new signups due to increased demand.
However, as Rochko pointed out, the decentralized platform has become one of the top choices for some of Twitter’s most influential — and most followed — users. In a word, when Musk imposed a short time a ban on accounts promoting alternative social networks, Mastodon’s official Twitter account was the only social app suspended.
Mastodon is far from the only niche app that has previously received a boost from the turmoil at Twitter. Other apps like CounterSocial, which looks and feels like Tweetdeck, and Tribel, which describes itself as a “pro-democracy Twitter alternative” have also seen an increase in signups.
There is also a wave of competition from startups. Post News, a new service run by former Waze CEO Noam Bardin, has also attempted to capitalize on Twitter’s dysfunction. Invitation-only service has been rushed to start an early version of the beta in November hoping to appeal to disillusioned Twitter users. post that receipt itself as a place “to discover, read, watch, discuss and share premium news content without registration or advertising,” has over 610,000 people on its waitlist, based on Bardin.
Another app that appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, was social hive, an image-focused platform with a feed that looks more like Instagram than Twitter. The service was founded in 2019 and reached 1.5 million users in November, according to the company. The site had some notables Security vanitywhich it claims to have fixedbut still trying to make an impression with Generation Z Twitter users.
Legacy platforms are also trying to seize the opportunity created by growing apathy towards Twitter. Tumblr announced follow Matt Mullenweg, CEO of parent company Automattic, to see a spike in the number of new and old users. The site also has a habit of trolling Musk and his new policies for Twitter, including the addition of $7.99 “Important blue Internet check mark” for user blogs. Mullenweg also said Tumblr will pass ActivityPub, the protocol that powers Mastodon, to make the two services interoperable.
Meta is also keen to challenge its longtime rival. The company recently launched a new product “Notes” feature in Instagram allows users to share status updates at the top of their inbox. At 60 characters, it’s unlikely to be an official Twitter alternative, but it may not be the last feature we see from Meta. New York Times report that the company discussed a number of ideas to pursue Twitter’s “bread and butter”.
The Future For Those Who Quit Twitter
This isn’t the first time unpopular decisions in Twitter have sparked interest in alternatives. But in the past, rallies to external platforms were relatively short. And most potential competitors are still a fraction of Twitter’s size.
Even with a large influx of new users, Mastodon, Post News, Hive Social, and Tumblr are still significantly smaller than Twitter. And, when Musk’s policy decisions seem unpopular and autocratic, the idea of starting over on a new platform can feeling hard. Not everyone can easily rebuild their social graph on alternative sites, and some people may find an increasing number of Twitter clones also undesirable (this is especially true). if you rely on accessibility features, as many newer platforms haven’t invested much in these features yet.)
However, this particular moment feels different than other times when Twitter has struggled to retain disgruntled users. First, there are more choices than ever for those looking for a reason to leave. But it’s also unique because more people are actually positive than ever about these alternatives.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at time of publication.