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Here's how things are going on Mastodon

Creator Rochko won't sell to private investors, while complaints from users are on the rise

Here's how things are going on Mastodon  Creator Rochko won't sell to private investors, while complaints from users are on the rise

A few months after Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter, the migration of users to Mastodon has been remarkable, thanks mainly to the chaotic and controversial management of Twitter's new ownership. It is therefore no coincidence that between October and November 2022, Mastodon's monthly users increased from 300,000 to 2.5 million, with a significant increase in downloads of the application as well. The amount of new subscribers was highest precisely at the time of some of Musk's less popular choices: the peak when, on 18th December, (and then withdrawn) the limitation of links that directed to other social networks such as Instagram or Mastodon itself was to be restricted. In the meantime, the latter has received at least five investment offers from some major US funds, demonstrating a growing interest in the platform.

Its founder, Eugen Rochko, told the Financial Times that, even though the proposals were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, he still preferred to keep his social network independent and non-profit - a choice that was much appreciated by its members. "Mastodon will not turn into everything you hate about Twitter. The fact that it can be sold to a controversial billionaire, that it can be shut down, that it can go bankrupt and so on. It's a difference of paradigms", Rochko said. Unlike Musk's social networking site, Mastodon is not run by a single organisation, but by anyone who wants to contribute to the initiative, which is why its ownership is described as "diffuse". This way, it is not possible for an individual to gain control of the entire system and to be able to modify it at will. Furthermore, the platform prefers small funds managed through Patreon by its users, rather than those from large investors. Mastodon has now around 9500 donors, which currently earns the social network almost 32,000 euros per month. Shortly before Musk's takeover of Twitter, there were less than a thousand supporters, and donations did not exceed 7,000 euros per month. Many observers believe that, in the future, the strategic model for making Mastodon increasingly sustainable could be similar to that of the foundation headed by Mozilla, the open source project that among other things launched the Firefox browser.

As previously told here, Mastodon was born in 2016, and up until recently it had not been much considered by Internet and social network users. At the basis of the freedom that Mastodon gives its users lies that of the early days of Internet, when there were no large platforms and everyone could take care of their own online presence through their own site in a strictly autonomous manner. But if on the one hand Mastodon's decentralisation makes it impossible for a single entity (or a multibillionaire who changes his mind almost too often) to control it, on the other hand the system discharges much more responsibility on the individual managers of the instances, especially with regard to content moderation, one other huge problem social networks have to deal with nowadays.