Mastodon, a decentralized social media platform that many are turning to as a Twitter alternative, saw its userbase skyrocket from about 300,000 monthly active users to 2.5 million between October and November, Mastodon’s CEO, founder, and lead developer Eugen Rochko said in a new blog post. Elon Musk officially took over Twitter in late October, meaning Mastodon’s huge jump in users almost directly followed Musk’s new ownership.
Rochko’s post also addressed Twitter’s now-reversed bans on sharing links to Mastodon, many journalists, and the @joinmastodon account itself following the still-in-place ban on @ElonJet. “This is a stark reminder that centralized platforms can impose arbitrary and unfair limits on what you can and can’t say while holding your social graph hostage,” Rochko said. “At Mastodon, we believe that there doesn’t have to be a middleman between you and your audience and that journalists and government institutions especially should not have to rely on a private platform to reach the public.”
Mastodon isn’t the only Twitter replacement that people are turning to. There’s Post, headed up by former Waze CEO Noam Bardin, Hive, which recently relaunched after dealing with some security issues, and familiar social platforms like Discord, Tumblr, and Reddit. And despite the growing interest in something that’s not Twitter, the bird app is still hanging on; more than 17.5 million people voted in Musk’s recent poll asking if he should step down as the CEO of Twitter, after all. (The people voted in favor of him quitting.) Musk has also repeatedly claimed that the site’s usage is at an all-time high.
Rochko, however, sounds confident in Mastodon’s future. “Understanding that freedom of the press is absolutely essential for a functional democracy, we are excited to see Mastodon grow and become a household name in newsrooms across the world, and we are committed to continuing to improve our software to face up to new challenges that come with rapid growth and increasing demand,” he wrote.