6. April 2017–
Mastodon, or the "fluffy elephant site," halted user sign-ups after social media users flocked to the Twitter alternative earlier this week.
"Due to exceptionally high traffic, registrations on this instance are closed until quality of serve can be assured for existing users," the new social network writes on their website.
Mastodon, a decentralized, open-software social network, created by 24-year-old developer Eugen Rochko in Germany, says is not only different, but better than Twitter.
And social media users seem to agree. Unlike commercial platforms, Mastodon's decentralized approach means there is little risk of "a single company monopolizing your communication," Mastodon writes.
A user simply picks their server of choice and can then interact with anyone, regardless of what server is being used.
Here are other ways Mastodon differs from Twitter:
You don't Tweet, you Toot.
Each post is called a toot and if you share someone's toot, it is called a boost.
So long 140 characters.
Toots can be as long as 500 characters, giving users more room to say something worthwhile and "allowing for more nuanced conversations," Rochko writes. And timelines are chronological.
Three words: flexible privacy control.
Each post, or toot, can be set as either private or public, similar to Facebook.
"Mastodon isn’t built for selling your eyeballs or analytics to advertisers," the 24-year-old writes on his blog.
Ethical design, means a focus on user, not revenue, he continues: "Allowing anyone to inspect its code and submit improvements means that it’s built for people, by people, under the scrutiny of people."
Zero tolerance for hate speech
Unlike Twitter, which adheres to "American constitutional norms" based on the First Amendment and forbids abridging the freedom of speech, Mastodon explicitly bans Nazi, Nazi symbolism, holocaust denial, racism, sexism and discrimination of sexual minorities, according to Sarah Jeong of Motherboard.
Without VC backing, Rochko uses Patreon to collect donations, which are used to cover his "living expenses" and host the site. Last month he reached his goal of $800.
The Mastodon developer was unavailable to comment on the recent developments or his plans for the Twitter-competitor amidst the media hype in the US.