A large number of Twitter users are considering shifting to a new social media website called Mastodon after Twitter was accused of bias over caste and ideological viewpoints.
It all started after Supreme Court lawyer Sanjay Hedge’s Twitter account was suspended by the micro-blogging website after he used a famous picture of August Landmesser, a shipyard worker during the Nazi Germany era as a cover picture where Landmesser can be seen not doing the Nazi salute.
Later, when he took down the picture the account was reinstated but to be suspended again as he re-uploaded the picture and a poem that was flagged by some users.
In protest of Twitter's move, people are considering moving to a new alternative Mastodon, which has seen an increase in popularity lately.
Mastodon, like Twitter, is a social network that supports posting and sharing text, videos, pictures and links.
The most significant difference between Twitter and Mastodon is that the latter is open-source and decentralised. This means that, unlike Twitter, a single entity or server is not running the social network. The website has over 2.2 million registered users and claims to be community-owned and ad-free. It also supports the chronological timeline, which is available as an option on Twitter.
As of now, Mastodon does not have its own client app. The company has listed several apps on its website that can be used for using Mastodon. For Android, users can download Tusky, Fedilab, etc. iOS users can download Toot, Mast, Amaroot to use Mastodon.
To set up a Mastodon account, visit their website and tap on ‘Get Started’ to sign up and confirm your email. The site will then review your application and verify the account details.
After signing in, you can choose to join a particular server. There are various servers based on multiple categories like journalism, gaming, general, technology, art, etc. You can select any of the listed servers and join them, or create your own. Each such server is called an ‘Instance’. Users who create their own instance can set their own rules which the community members can moderate as well.
Mastodon has ‘toots’, which is like tweets on Twitter. Each toot can be up to 500 characters, which is way more than Twitter’s 280 character limit. Users can mention other mastodon users in their toots and can also add media, hashtags, etc.
There’s also retweets in the form of ‘boost’. Users can ‘boost’ their toots and other toots as well. As of now, Mastodon does not support boosting a post with a quote (like retweet with a comment on Twitter). Users can 'like' and 'favourite' toots.
Mastodon includes three timelines, namely Home, Local and Federated. The Home timeline lists out the posts from users you follow. A Local timeline shows you the posts uploaded or shared by other users in an Instance. In Federated timeline, toots across all Instances are shown.
Like many other social networking sites, Mastodon users can also mute, block and report other users. When a user reports someone, the report is only sent to the moderators of that particular Instance. Moderators then take action after reviewing the report, which could be no action, a warning, or banning the reported user from the Instance.
A Twitter user shared how Mastodon moderators are quick to respond to a report.
Although quick, it is essential to know that Mastodon has a relatively small user base compared to Twitter.