Mastodon’s usage of an emphasis on servers and decentralization might make it seem foreign to anyone accustomed to more well-known social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook. In spite of a significantly steeper learning curve, the overall user experience is not dissimilar to that of these other websites.
Mastodon: What Is It?
Mastodon is an open-source social media platform that was launched in 2016 and is now managed by a German non-profit. It aims to provide a decentralized alternative to centralized social media giants like Twitter.
Its features are comparable to those of Twitter in many respects, including the usage of hashtags and the ability to follow and engage with other users. But because it’s decentralized, there’s no single entity in charge of it.
Instead, responsibility for moderation is delegated to lower-level authority, allowing for more latitude in the network as a whole.
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So, how exactly does Mastodon function?
Mastodon is not just one website because it is based on a decentralized network. Instead, it consists of a network of interconnected computers and service providers that may share data. You may pick the server you want to play on, as they are all run by different people.
Because it is not governed by the policies and algorithms of a single organization, Mastodon is in a position to provide you with greater anonymity and agency. Communities may be established with unique guidelines and criteria for participation.
You may then communicate with other users by posting both textual updates (now known as “toots”) and media files (pictures, videos, etc.). Mastodon also allows for content filters, user-made emoticons and avatars, and more.
The Mastodon server software itself is free, however, domain names and hosting will cost you. Joining a server, however, is straightforward and operates similarly to other social networking platforms.
Once you’ve signed in, you’ll have access to the server’s public, unlisted, and private posting options, as well as the option to follow other users whose activity you choose to track.
How many journalists had their accounts deleted by Twitter?
Twitter banned the bot account @elonjet on December 14 for following Elon Musk’s personal trips. UCF student Jack Sweeney is behind it; he also has several other bot accounts that have been banned.
The now-famous tweet from November 6 in which Musk condemned Sweeney’s account but also promised not to ban it has since gone viral. Sweeney’s accounts were suspended because they posted “live location information,” which Twitter defines as “information shared on Twitter directly or links to 3rd party URL(s) of travel routes.”
This restriction was added to Twitter’s private information and media policy on Wednesday. Mastodon’s official Twitter account was deactivated the next day, ostensibly for promoting the mastodon the social profile of Elonjet.
Around 4:30 p.m. PT on December 15th, numerous technology writers discovered that Twitter had temporarily banned their accounts. Some of the accounts had tweeted about the Elonjet Mastodon page, but not all of them did.
In light of the suspensions, Musk tweeted, “Same dox xing regulations apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else.” Other journalists who had tweeted about Musk remained on suspension throughout the evening.
The “Now” option won both of Musk’s Twitter polls asking when the journalists should be allowed back on Twitter. After removing inappropriate tweets, the Twitter accounts of some journalists were restored. While some have voluntarily deleted tweets, others have been suspended for unclear reasons.
The vast majority of prominent Twitter accounts that have been suspended on Twitter have instead set up profiles on the decentralized social media network Mastodon, but with varying degrees of activity. Links to their verified Mastodon profiles are provided below.
- Elonjet flight tracker
- Elonjet owner Jack Sweeney
- Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell
- CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan
- Mashable reporter Matt Binder
- Intercept reporter Micah Lee
- Voice of America correspondent Steve Herman
- Independent journalist Tony Webster
- Business Insider reporter Linette Lopez
- Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz
- Independent journalist Aaron Rupar
- New York Times reporter Ryan Mac
- CNN reporter Jim Acosta
- San Francisco Chronicle reporter Gil Duran
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So, why is Mastodon so special?
Putting it simply: decentralization. Because of this, Mastodon is very different from other social networks such as Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter. No matter how many people use the site, the policies are the same for everyone.
Since Mastodon is divided into smaller communities, each of those communities may set its own rules, and each user can choose which community they want to participate in.
It’s possible that there are a dozen servers with almost identical features, but slightly varied rules to appeal to a wider variety of players. In the event that you find yourself dissatisfied with the rules enforced by a given server community, you are free to join another or even create your own server and implement your own set of guidelines.
Mastodon is also distinct from other social media sites in that its source code is available for anybody to see and change. This paves the way for anyone to create their own server, tailored to their precise specifications.
You won’t find this kind of openness and participation from the community on other websites. Mastodon has now confirmed it would “never subject you to intrusive profile or ad displays. That implies you have complete ownership of your information and your time.”
You won’t have to deal with intrusive adverts following you around the web, and the service won’t try to hook you on anything in particular via ad targeting or similar techniques.