Mastodon Users Have Started Fleeing the Platform

Mastodon, the decentralized social network that saw its popularity surge as Twitter users were seeking an alternative has stopped growing. As reported by The Guardian, Mastodon has seen its number of active users drop 30% since its usage peaked at over 2.5 million users in early December.

Mastodon had a little less than 500,000 active users before Elon Musk took over at the end of October. The service saw its user base increase fivefold in just a month, but it appears that the curiosity effect has started to wear off.

If you’re interested in data, Mastodon makes the total number of users that have logged in over the previous 30 days publicly accessible, and it’s quite interesting to look at it:

  • A month ago on December 9, Mastodon still had 2,278,703 active users for a total of 5,446,000 Mastodon accounts.
  • As of today, January 9, Mastodon has 1,756,907 active users for a total of 5,920,978 people who created an account. That’s a 23% decrease in active users in a month.

In comparison, Twitter had 253 million “monetizable” daily active users on November 20 according to an internal presentation shared by Elon Musk. Since he became CEO of Twitter, Musk claimed several times in the past couple of weeks that Twitter usage was increasing despite all the drama that followed his acquisition of the company.

As most people who have been experimenting with Mastodon probably figured out, Mastodon isn’t as easy to use as Twitter, and it’s especially difficult to recreate your social graph when the people you want to follow are spread out across different servers you may not know. The decentralized aspect of Mastodon also implies that each server has its own moderation rules, which can be quite arbitrary.

Despite Twitter laying off over half of its workforce last fall, the service didn’t experience major outages or other disruptions of service. That’s not to say that the platform is doing fine – the company actually has major cash flow problems due to advertisers leaving the platform.

Elon Musk, who is now looking for another CEO “foolish enough to take the job”, previously described Twitter as “a plane that’s headed towards the ground at high speed, with the engines on fire, and the controls don’t work.” As for Mastodon, the platform rejected several investment offers from venture capital firms to keep its non-profit status, according to the Financial Times.

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