Related video: What is Twitter's rival Mastodon and how does it work

PA, Mastodon (PR)

As tech billionaire Elon Musk continues setting out his plans for Twitter after finally taking ownership of it last month (and bringing back controversial figures such as Kanye “Ye” West, Donald Trump and Andrew Tate), the search continues for an alternative social media platform for those who don’t want to share a website with such polarizing figures.

An early contender was Mastodon, the decentralised, server-based platform where users can join an “instance” or community to get chatting, and talk across servers with one another. Stephen Fry made headlines earlier this month when he ditched Twitter for the site, and even Musk himself is cheesed off at the platform picking up disillusioned tweeters, branding it “Masterbatedone” in a now-deleted tweet.

You OK there, Elon?

However, Mastodon’s user interface is already leaving a few people confused, leading to a couple of other social media underdogs to come to the fore – and Post (housed over at post.news) seems to be the latest one getting Twitter user’s attention. So what is it?

Promising “real people, real news and civil conversations”, Post has been set up by Noam Bardin, former CEO of the sat nav app Waze and an ex-Google employee.

An introductory post from Bardin on its website, shared last week, reads: “Remember when social media was fun, introduced you to big ideas and cool people, and actually made you smarter? Remember when it didn’t waste your time and make you angry or sad? When you could disagree with someone without being threatened or insulted?

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“We want to bring that back with Post.

“We believe that all humans are created equal, endowed with unalienable rights that include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, regardless of their gender, religion, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, net worth, or beliefs.

“If you do not agree with this principle, Post is not for you. We believe in freedom of speech and will oppose any government's attempt to censor speech on our platform.”

Though before you worry about the platform dedicating itself to Musk’s version of free speech – where Twitter accounts were permanently suspended if they dared impersonate him without specifying they are a parody, and controversial individuals have had their accounts restored – Post says it does have rules in place and plans to “rigorously enforce [them] via content moderation”.

Thank God for that.

Bardin continues: “Post will be a civil place to debate ideas; learn from experts, journalists, individual creators, and each other; converse freely; and have some fun.

“Many of today's ad-based platforms rely on capturing attention at any cost - sowing chaos in our society, amplifying the extremes, and muting the moderates. Post is designed to give the voice back to the sidelined majority; there are enough platforms for extremists, and we cannot relinquish the town square to them.

“We know that this is a lofty goal, that the world is endlessly complex, that there is no “right” answer to many of these questions. We acknowledge that we will make many mistakes, but we promise to listen and be responsive to our community.”

While access is currently restricted and there’s a more than 125,000-user strong waitlist at the time of writing, Post is said to offer users the ability to write posts “of any length”; comment, like, share and repost content; and “tip” creators via micro-payments if you liked an “engaging” post from them.

On Sunday, Bardin called on those on the waitlist to “be patient” as he continued prioritising new users based on “the date people signed up, what they shared about themselves, content creators and content consumers” and the diversity of their demographics.

“The initial users set the tone of the platform and I want to make it as diverse as possible within our rules (i.e. no Nazis, antisemites, bigots, racists, homophobes, misogynists – there are enough platforms for them),” he wrote.

Yet those who already have access to Post have been singing its praises, tweeting compliments which suggest it may be better than Mastodon.

NBC reporter Ben Collins said: “Anyway, before this place [Twitter] goes full 4chan, will let you know which of the alternatives are best soon. Post.News is in the early lead.

“Mastodon isn’t made for this moment. Will keep you updated.”

Washington Post columnist Max Boot added: “I’m on Post.News and already finding it a lot easier to use than Mastodon.”

Meanwhile Marc E. Elias, of the voter rights website Democracy Docket, tweeted: “Having spent the weekend on a number of alternatives to Twitter, I have to say, Post seems to have the most long-term potential.

“They are rolling it out slowly, but I suggest you get on the list now for when they open it up more broadly.”

In an email update on the beta, Bardin confirmed 3,500 applicants have now been activated as users.

Anyone interested in signing up can do so at Post.News, with sign-ups from friends using their referral link boosting their chances of getting in earlier.

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