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

Twitter has been in a state of chaos since its recent takeover, with the latest twist being the departure of hundreds of employees after Elon Musk convinced them to get with the "extremely hardcore" work environment or resign with severance pay.

On Thursday (17 November), as the mass departure from Twitter happened, the hashtags #RIPTwitter and #GoodbyeTwitter started trending, as people wondered whether this was the end.

After purchasing the platform for $44bn a couple of weeks ago, Musk fired half of the company's staff, asking the remaining employees to get on the "Twitter 2.0" or get out by 5 pm.

As a result, people started posting "join now" links to Twitter's rival social media platform, Mastodon.

But it seems the platform might be blocking people from sharing links to the other site - either inadvertently or deliberately.

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Mastodon, which was initially released in 2016 by Eugen Rochko, is free and open-source software for running self-hosted social networking services that are available for iOS and Android.

It also has microblogging features, similar to Twitter, but are run independently from one another through networks called "instances."

Vice News senior reporter David Gilbert said that he just tried to attach a link to a tweet to no avail.

"Other accounts suggesting Twitter seems to be stopping users from the joinmastodon.com URL…so seeing if that's true…" he tweeted, as evidenced in a screenshot.

But, there was also an alert that read, "Something went wrong, but don't fret — let's give it another shot," indicating that the message was blocked.

Another person shared a screenshot of Musk's tweet that said the platform "is like open sourcing the news" and responded to the billionaire that his message sounded like "Mastodon" was also met with the "something went wrong" message.

"Wow #Twitter is now BLOCKING anyone from posting a link to the #Mastodon website 'because this link has been identified [...] as being potentially harmful.'

"What a great example of allowing #FreeSpeech. FYI link still works fine if you type it in your browser," the person captioned the post.


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