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Mastodon Gains 30,000 New Users After Musk Buys Twitter

The surge puts a strain on two major Mastodon servers, which the nonprofit is working to fix.

By Michael Kan

Social network Mastodon is reporting an influx of 30,000 new users in a single day after Twitter announced it would sell itself to Elon Musk.

According to Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko, the new signups underscore the growth the decentralized social network has been experiencing ever since Musk expressed an interest in taking over Twitter.

In addition, the social network is experiencing a surge in active users. “Mastodon’s monthly active user numbers have risen by 84,579 since the Twitter buyout story broke on Monday (and I do mean across the Mastodon network, not this server),” Rochko wrote in a post on Wednesday.

Evidence is also emerging that some users are bailing on Twitter following the Musk acquisition. According to NBC News, high-profile Twitter accounts have been losing tens of thousands of followers due to “organic” account closures from users.

For example, former US President Barack Obama lost 300,000 followers after Twitter announced it was being sold to Musk. However, Twitter accounts belonging to Republican figures, such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, (R-Ga.), have seen their follower counts increase by around 100,000.

Rochko said users are flocking to his service “because at Mastodon, we present a vision of social media that cannot be bought and owned by any billionaire.” But on the flip side, the surge in new users is causing technical snafus at Mastodon.

“Without doubt the sudden and explosive success is putting strain on our resources, specifically the public Mastodon servers that we, the non-profit, maintain ourselves: mastodon.social and mastodon.online,” he wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

“We have been working non-stop to maintain quality of service on mastodon.social and mastodon.online, but you may have noticed issues such as confirmation emails not arriving or home feeds being delayed,” he added. “We apologize for the inconvenience and continue to work on addressing these issues.”

Mastodon functions a lot like Twitter, but it operates as a decentralized social network through thousands of independent servers that each have their own rules. “Anyone can become such a provider as Mastodon is free and open-source,” Rochko added. “It has no ads, respects your privacy, and allows people/communities to self-govern.”

However, Mastodon itself is a nonprofit, so it doesn’t have the resources of a major tech company like Twitter or Facebook. Its user base also remains small. Rochko estimates Mastodon has over 3 million registered users; Twitter has 217 million daily active users.

Still, the Mastodon organization has been working to improve the service. Last week, it finally launched an official Android app. “In the future, we plan to add end-to-end encrypted messaging and an exciting groups functionality to our software, together with further updates to our well-received official app,” Rochko added.

If you’re interested, you can check out our guide on how to get started with Mastodon.

Originally published at https://www.pcmag.com.

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