Mastodon: the decentralized social network as an alternative to Twitter after the purchase of Elon Musk

It is the news not of the week, but one of the year without a doubt. For those who don’t know yet, yesterday Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, SpaceX and the richest man on the planet, released 44,000 million dollars to buy Twitter, an offer that the council of 11 delegates of the social network accepted. Twitter now belongs to Musk, and one of his goals is to privatize it.

Mastodon, alternative to Twitter

The advantages of the privatization of Twitter are to improve moderation and make it less of a pit of trolls and ‘hate’ than it is now, in fact. Musk wants to “eliminate spam bots and authenticate all humans.” But these intentions have already set off alarms and voices against alleging that if Twitter is privatized, it will lose the freedom of expression it now has.

Musk and his people will decide, and things will not be the same, which is why a name has begun to emerge in the last hours since the effective purchase of Twitter was published: Mastodon. No, it is not the American Heavy Metal band formed in the 2000s in the United States, but a much freer social network.

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open source network

Created in 2017 by Eugen Rochko, a programmer and user who did not support Twitter and what it was becoming, Mastodon is an open source network that is independent of Twitter and has its own service, does not need to monetize by posting ads to the user and has Some privacy settings that do work, plus Groups such as neo-Nazis are banned from the beginning in this social network.

Its creator turned to the popular micro-financing service Patreon to cover the basic costs of creation, and is not at all interested in “monetization, put ads or something of that kind”. But what is Mastodon? Mastodon is not a single website like Twitter, instead it offers several smaller communities that users can participate in..

Users of different servers can freely communicate with each other. And each of these communities can set their own guidelines for their users. The key is that the platform is also decentralized and Mastodon claims it can’t be”bought or owned by any billionaire.

500 character messages

One of the most popular communities of the service in terms of playing in the same line as Twitter, that of micro-blogging, Mastodon has more than 661,000 users who have made more than 35.4 million publications during these 5 years. The platform gives users a 500-character limit on Toots, which is its version of Tweets, twice as much text as on Twitter.

It also has various rules for content that is not allowed on the platform. This includes the obligation to flag sexually explicit or violent media. Nor does it allow racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia or segregationIncitement to violence or the promotion of violent ideologies is not tolerated.

mastodon rules they also do not allow users to harass, harass others or harm them. And it has a restriction on any content deemed illegal in Germany. The last rule does not allow users to post intentionally false or misleading information.

overflow traffic

Yesterday Monday morning, when Musk and Twitter were known to be meeting again, one of Mastodon’s main servers saw a flood of user traffic, causing its speeds to drop. Specifically, the increase in traffic affected the server mastodon.social, which is perhaps the most popular “instance” of the decentralized social network.

“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”, wrote founder Eugen Rochko. And it is that Mastodon has experienced an increase in new users not since yesterday, but since Musk bought 10% of Twitter at the beginning of this month of April.