Mastodon: Can It Replace Twitter Or Is It Different?



(CTN NEWS) – A previously unmentioned social media platform, MASTODON, was under the spotlight when Elon Musk acquired Twitter, downsized its staff, and started changing its business model.

Furthermore, despite having a mammoth-like moniker, Mastodon is still alive and well today. Since Musk closed the acquisition of Twitter on October 27, the microblogging service has gained at least 1 million new members.

The fact that Mastodon, active since 2016, has not included any monetization tactics in its software may be what users find most alluring (and what venture capitalists find puzzling).

That entails no paid accounts, no algorithm designed to keep consumers hooked, and no adverts.

Due to this, the company’s business model differs significantly from that of most social media behemoths.

Crowdfunding supports Mastodon gGmbH, a tiny German organization that created and maintained the first Mastodon server, mastodon. social.

Its website contains a Patreon and a list of organizations that have given money.

Despite this, the company asserts its independence, stating at the bottom of a list of sponsors that “Sponsorship does not imply influence.”

Mastodon may resemble Twitter in appearance, but it is decentralized, meaning that anybody can launch their own copy of a server using open-source software.

In the Fediverse, a networked community, users can communicate with other instances.

Mastodon is a totally open-source project that anyone may download and contribute to. Additionally, due to the decentralized approach, each instance is somewhat unique.

One server can prohibit another server whose content moderation policies conflict with its own by setting its own standards for content moderation and choosing which servers to “federate” with.

Sure, it’s a little techy and unconventional, but many users are keen to recreate their Twitter experience in case the service shuts down or becomes even more infested with hate speech and fraudulent accounts.

According to Daniel Appelquist, director of open source and open standards strategy at cyber security firm Snyk.

Mastodon’s decentralized style may appeal to members in a community that has experienced hostility on Twitter for creating a secure online community.

He added that mastodon is highly focused on that, noting that certain instances are identity- or interest-specific because you can launch your own server and define the restrictions.

According to Appelquist, most Mastodon instances have progressive content policies.

However, they lack the resources that other social media platforms have (or have historically had), such as full-time moderators or in-house legal teams that ensure that they are abiding by hate speech legislation.

Instead, moderating is divided across the instances and frequently carried out by the host or a small number of volunteers, something like Reddit.

Appelquist stated, “This whole distributed equals better thing hasn’t really been tested.”

Strong content control criteria are required because once bad actors, such as actual Nazis, start to notice what is happening on Mastodon, they will follow them as well. And we’ll see if Mastodon is capable of fending that off.

Eugen Rochko, the creator of Mastodon, has employed content moderators for his instance, mastodon. social.

Each situation is unique, though; the majority lack the funding necessary to compensate moderators.

Both scaling up content moderation and server maintenance are challenging. Most instances are operated by a single person or small group and are free to users.

It gets more expensive to maintain the server as instances grow, whether that’s a major increase in users or just one user with a large following that creates a lot of activity.

When Twitter started, Stefano Maffulli worked there and recalled that the company had some comparable growing challenges.

“I recall how important Twitter was during the Egyptian revolution. It was extremely challenging to maintain the service so that the users could exchange messages,” according to Maffulli, the executive director of the Open Source Initiative.

On the technical front, Mastodon will encounter comparable difficulties, but they have an advantage.

“The decentralized network is advantageous in this situation,” he claimed.

Mastodon App: The Social Media Alternative to Twitter? | Tech News Briefing Podcast | WSJ

Users can launch new servers, effectively expanding instead of growing up, reducing the need for Mastodon to continually increase server capacity and recruit more staff.

Instead of making money, the approach aims to establish a vast network of instances that develop and evolve in response to community feedback.

Mastodon hasn’t entirely addressed data privacy despite its distinctions from Twitter — or improvements, or drawbacks, depending on how you view it.

Users should ensure that the rules correspond with their concerns about data privacy because each instance has a separate set of rules and moderators.

The users now have power, but they also bear responsibility for their decisions, according to Maffulli.

“You cannot claim that Facebook or Twitter forced you to do something. If you join a new instance, you should review the terms of service.”

It may yet be too early to know if Mastodon can take the role of Twitter.

However, some Mastodon supporters claim that the network isn’t even intended to be an alternative.

It belongs to a group of decentralized social media platforms, like the photo-sharing network PixelFed, that employ the Activity Pub protocol.

Mastodon is now a part of a “wider ecosystem” of federated social media as a result, according to Maffulli.

An ecosystem that is, in theory, designed to allow users more control over their social media experience,

Whether that means avoiding an algorithm that only displays hateful messages or discovering a community of like-minded individuals, there is even a group made up of former Twitter workers.


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