Mastodon, an open-source social network that markets itself as an alternative to Twitter Inc., has seen a surge in new sign-ups in recent days, overwhelming the site and its founder as the tiny operation struggles to keep up.
Since Elon Musk took over Twitter on Oct. 27, Mastodon has drawn 489,003 new users, bringing total monthly active users to more than 1 million, founder, lead developer and CEO Eugen Rochko said on his own Mastodon account Monday. That’s a tiny fraction compared to Twitter’s 238 million daily active users. But Musk’s purchase has seemingly been the incentive the German non-profit has been waiting for since its founding in 2016.
“I don’t think Mastodon or the fediverse has ever received this much attention before,” Rochko wrote on his account two days ago. “It’s a great opportunity for people to finally see that social media can be done differently, that it can be a protocol not under control of any single company.”
Searches for Mastodon spiked on Google following the Twitter acquisition, especially in Europe where the social network is based. All of the new interest has caused strain on the platform, with Rochko saying he was overstretched. “While it’s nice to see your work finally taken seriously in the mainstream, the 12-14 hour workdays I’ve had to pull to handle everything is anything but,” Rochko posted on Oct. 31.