Elon Musk bans social media rival Mastodon’s Twitter account

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Twitter has banned the official account of its social media rival Mastodon while barring users from linking to its servers.

Several Twitter users posted screenshots showing that they were not allowed to post links to their Mastodon accounts on Thursday.

Twitter flagged links to Mastodon as “potentially harmful,” according to a number of screenshots posted by Twitter users on Thursday.

The move comes as new Twitter CEO Elon Musk finds himself on the receiving end of widespread criticism for suspending the accounts of several left-leaning journalists who have been critical of his stewardship of the social media app.

Musk claimed the journalists he banned were “doxxing” him by publicizing his exact whereabouts.

Mastodon has gained popularity in recent weeks as an alternative destination primarily for left-leaning journalists who are critical of Musk and dreaded his $44 billion acquisition of the company.

Mastodon is a Germany-based social media site that has emerged as a competitor to Twitter.
AP

Many high-profile news personalities who anticipated being banned by Musk added their Mastodon links to their Twitter names so that they would be prominently featured.

As of Friday, anyone posting links to Mastodon domains mstdn.social and mastodon.social are given a prompt that reads: “Warning: this link may be unsafe.”

Musk, who fired Twitter’s media relations department upon taking over the company, was not immediately available for comment.

Several Twitter users posted screenshots showing that they were blocked from tweeting links to their Mastodon accounts.
Several Twitter users posted screenshots showing that they were blocked from tweeting links to their Mastodon accounts.

The official Mastodon account on Twitter was suspended as of Friday morning.
The official Mastodon account on Twitter was suspended as of Friday morning.


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Mastodon has emerged as an alternative for left-leaning Twitter users who fear being banned by Musk.
Mastodon has emerged as an alternative for left-leaning Twitter users who fear being banned by Musk.


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The Post has reached out to Mastodon seeking comment.

Musk, who pledged to allow unfettered speech on Twitter, also barred the handle @Elonjet, which was devoted solely to tracking the mogul’s private jet flights, and the handle’s operator, college sophomore Jack Sweeney.

Mastodon, which is named after an extinct species of an animal that looks like an elephant, is a decentralized, open-source social network whose servers are based in Germany.

Musk on Thursday barred several journalists from Twitter -- igniting widespread criticism.
Elon Musk also barred several journalists from Twitter — igniting widespread criticism.
NTB/AFP via Getty Images

“Decentralized” means that it is not owned by a single company. Instead, the site is comprised of a network of servers, each of which are run independently though they allow users on different servers to connect with another.

Each server has its own code of conduct and content moderation policies, unlike Twitter, where those kinds of decisions are made by the company’s executives.

That makes it easier for Mastodon to ban or filter hate speech and other content if it runs afoul of the server’s self-styled regulations.

Many Twitter users put their Mastodon handles in their Twitter bios in anticipation of being banned by Musk.
Many Twitter users put their Mastodon handles in their Twitter bios in anticipation of being banned by Musk.
@marceelias/Twitter

There are no ads as Mastodon is funded by donations, grants and other means.

Mastodon’s feed is chronological, unlike Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or Twitter, which all use algorithms to get people to spend as much time on a site as possible.

Since Musk took over Twitter in late October, Mastodon has reported that at least half a million new users have registered their accounts.

With Post wires

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