When Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter kicked in, people started looking for alternatives to the Bird app almost immediately. Among these options emerged Mastodon, a decentralized social media application. The open-source platform quickly grew in popularity, seeing an influx of users including prominent journalists, politicians, and other public figures. For a while, it looked like Mastodon had a strong chance of dethroning Twitter, catering to its runaway users.
Now, however, that dramatic increase may have stalled. Mastodon users have dropped significantly, according to a new report from Wired(Opens in a new tab). At the end of January, Mastodon’s active monthly users(Opens in a new tab) fell to 1.4 million(Opens in a new tab)a clear difference with its 2.5 million monthly users in December last year.
Mastodon’s drop in user numbers could be attributed to both the platform touted as hard to navigate for newcomers(Opens in a new tab), and Twitter users who choose to stay, reluctantly or not. Mastodon is “powered by a network of independent servers around the world,” as Mashable’s Cecily Mauran reported in November. This means that the platform is self-contained and has multiple servers moderated by volunteers. This being Mastodon’s main distinction, Twitter users may have had a hard time getting acclimated. Turns out it’s not like Twitter at all, although it’s also a microblogging site.
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Twitter, meanwhile, has had a host of issues since Musk took over as CEO. Just recently, the platform announced that it would remove free API access, a move that could hamper the work of activists and scholars. Other proposed and executed changes, including potential subscription models, have drawn criticism from longtime users.
Nevertheless, the familiarity of Twitter may still be appealing to many. The decline in Mastodon’s user base shows – for now – that Twitter has retained some of its population.