What is Mastodon? How is it different from Twitter?

Everyone fed up with Twitter is heading over to the social media app Mastodon.

In less than two weeks after Elon Musk bought Twitter, Mastodon has gotten nearly 500,000 new sign-ups. Twitter users and advertisers are concerned that new owner Musk won’t moderate hate speech and misinformation on the platform.

The influx of new Mastodon members caused its servers to crash on Monday. But while Mastodon is also a microblogging platform, it has major differences from Twitter.

What is Mastodon?

Mastodon was founded in 2016 by German software developer Eugen Rochko, and its user interface is similar to Twitter. People post up-to-500-character messages and upload images and videos. Users can also follow, like, share and repost each other’s content.

What is the difference between Mastodon and Twitter?

The major difference is that Mastodon is an open-source, decentralized social network and nonprofit, with different servers created and moderated by users. It doesn’t have any ads or algorithms and is supported by crowdfunding. Moreover, there’s no such thing as “verified users.”

What are Mastodon’s different servers?

When users sign up for Mastodon, they select servers to follow, which are essentially different interest groups. Each server is run by an individual or a group and has its own membership and moderation guidelines.

That means some servers are open to all, while others are invite-only. It also means that moderation policies vary in strictness, so it’s important to pick a server with guidelines that you support.

How to create an account:

Visit Mastodon’s website, hit “Create Account” and select from a list of servers to join — or you can download the app for Android or iOS on your phone.

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