There have been many moments when we've all considered leaving Twitter; marathon arguments (although celebrity feuds seem to have the opposite effect), the 2016 US presidential election, when those little miss memes began to circulate... And yet, there's never been a mass exodus from the social media platform quite like the one we're witnessing now.
Ever since Elon Musk bought Twitter for US$44 billion on October 27, a noticeable amount of users have packed up and left the platform. And it's not just Gigi Hadid and Stephen Fry, either. MIT estimates that Twitter has lost over a million users since Musk took over. Bot Sentinel, a firm that tracks inauthentic behaviour on the app believes around 877,000 accounts were deactivated and a further 497,000 were suspended between October 27 and November 1.
That's all before we even get started on the Twitter executives and advertisers ditching the company, or the hordes of employees who have been made redundant since the platform was privatised.
Everyone has their own reasons for departing the platform, and for many they revolve around Musk's plans to relax content moderation which will see an increase in the spread of hate speech, misinformation, and other harmful and oftentimes illegal content. Then there's the question of whether an American billionaire should own a global platform with the power to make or break democracies the world over.
In any case, it's safe to say a lot of us are looking for alternatives. Twitter has been a crucial tool for journalists just as it was a community built for laughs, and the quickest wit to thrive. We'll be sad to see it go. As we begin to test out other options, we're bringing you a guide to Twitter alternatives below, from Mastodon to CoHost.
Perhaps the most popular of all the alternatives. Anyone looking for a lifeboat have fled Twitter and taken refuge on Mastodon. At this stage, Mastodon has reported a million monthly users, with an extra half million people joining the app the day Musk bought Twitter. So how does it work? Rather than posting your content in one communal space, Mastodon is similar to Reddit in that you can choose to be part of different servers or communities (grouped by interests or subject matter) who regulate their own space. The idea is that smaller groups can moderate themselves better than larger ones can. Posts are called Toots (strange, we know) but on the upside, the platform has an edit button, 500 character limits, you can include images and there are content warnings too.
Admittedly, CoHost is a little more clunky and a little less attractive than Twitter (everyone has to start somewhere). But the beauty of this platform is that there's no character limit and less emphasis on likes or reposts. In reality, it shares a lot of similarities to Tumblr. The small team of developers and designers have vowed to never "sell your data, sell ads, or sell the company to anyone who might change these policies to make a quick buck," believing the most valuable part of the app is not making money, but what you as a user want to get from it. So you can find a little relief there. Also, importantly there's no algorithm. Everything appears in good ol' fashioned chronological order.
Modelled off Mastodon, CounterSocial has an interesting origin story. It was founded in 2017 by a notorious hacker called The Jester who was tired of the way social media inflamed outrage, mental illness, division – all that fun stuff. As a result, CounterSocial is there to be the antithesis to social media as we know it; a safe space with "zero tolerance of trolls, spam bots, misinformation campaigns, harassment, and political foreign-influence". Sounds great in theory. Now that Twitter's plummeting it's time to see how this works in practice.
Our old friend! Like blood in the water, other established platforms are closing in like sharks on Musk's Twitter as it haemorrhages $4 million a day. We've witnessed it firsthand with Instagram following its introduction of a new Notes feature, and now it appears Tumblr is angling for a comeback. Only a week ago on November 2, the platform announced it was welcoming back nudity after banning it in 2018. As old users will know, nudity was part of the fun. As was the lengthy blog posts and quippy jokes; a bid for nostalgia we might all indulge at the present moment.
If you're looking for more Twitter alternatives, why not begin with Twitter's founding father's new platform Bluesky. Truthfully, it's unlikely that you'll just launch straight into Bluesky as its creators are still in the midst of beta-testing. However, when it launches I'm sure Jack Dorsey will let us all know.
Of course, there are others too. But Parler and Truth Social don't keep particularly great company either.