Several Twitter users who resented Elon Musk’s acquisition of the microblogging platform are now turning to other social networks with a similar pedigree. A case in point is Mastodon, which saw more than 30,000 new user registrations in a single day, according to its chief executive Eugen Rochko. The sudden influx of new users has also slowed down the servers of this indefinable social network.
“Mastodon social is slow right now, as far as I can tell, because there are twice as many people using it at the same time as ever. I’m working to get it going fast again,” Rochko said in a post. post on Mastodon.
Another social network called CounterSocial is going through something similar and is upgrading their infrastructure to deal with it. “Due to an unprecedented influx of unexpected new users, CounterSocial is currently undergoing infrastructure upgrades. We expect to be back around 9 p.m. EST on April 27,” said CounterSocial in a web message.
Christopher Budd, a security, privacy and communications expert, is among many users who have left Twitter for platforms such as Counter Social. “In light of recent events, I went to CounterSocial and zeroed my Twitter account. I disabled Facebook a while ago,” Budd said in a LinkedIn post.
“A number of people from InfoSec are moving towards CounterSocial. I support it by paying for it. I like paying instead of ads, data scraping and nonsensical algorithms,” he added.
Launched in 2016 as a decentralized social network, Mastodon already made headlines in India in 2019 when a lawyer from the Supreme Court of India, Sanjay Hegde, announced that he was joining the platform after the blocking of his Twitter account.
Unlike Twitter, Mastodon allows users to create and host their private Twitter-like networks called instances, where the creator can set rules and decide who can be part of the network. Since all networks exist on multiple servers, no single global entity can target them with advertisements. Previously accessible only through a web browser, the Mastodon app is now available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
CounterSocial, on the other hand, resembles Twitter and claims to be free of bots, trolls, and fake news. It is also ad-free and claims that it does not mine or sell user data. However, it has slightly problematic origins. It was founded by an anonymous hacktivist who goes by the name of The Jester and who allegedly carried out cyberattacks against WikilLeaks, a former Iranian president, and some Islamist websites.
CounterSocial is listed on both Play Store and App Store.
Although Elon Musk has said his goal is to promote free speech on Twitter, many believe his lawsuit may have negative repercussions on the platform. The hands-off approach to moderation and allowing people to say whatever they want in the name of free speech can exacerbate the problem of hate speech and fake news on social media such as Twitter , experts have warned.
The endemic problems with mainstream social networks have also resulted in the loss of users to mainstream networks. For example, Facebook lost one million daily active users for the first time in 2021, according to the company’s financial results for the last quarter of 2021.