Although Twitter banned political ads altogether, their attempt to neutralise the platform seems to be backfiring. Over the last week, Mastodon, a lesser-used rival social network has been trending as several important users declared their shift to what they deem a more "egalitarian" alternative to Twitter.
Angry Birds Flock Together
Twitter's anti-hate speech system is flawed and impartial, according to several users. While several voices against rightist politics, the most recent one being Supreme Court lawyer Sanjay Hegde, have been suspended or silenced repeatedly, hate speech remains a rampant problem across the platform.
Since Twitter is controlled by a single firm, speculations and accusations say that Twitter "tolerates rhetoric against minorities" and acts with a certain political bias. People fear that voices of opposition or criticism in reference to the current government are being silenced.
Twitter has since, well, tweeted that they are "impartial and do not take action based upon any ideology or viewpoint." However, eminent personalities including editor Nikhil Pahwa and author Nilanjana Roy believe firmly otherwise and have expressed their discontentment with Twitter's actions in the past.
The Migration to Mastodon
Mastodon is a similar rival platform to Twitter, although relatively less famous and accessible. The biggest advantage of Mastodon is that it is open-source and decentralized- unlike Twitter and most famous social media networks, there isn't a central firm or entity running the entire network. Hence, there can be no systematic bias or leaning. It has been around since 2006 and has roughly 2.2 million users against Twitter's 30 million.
Users create their own servers on Mastodon for others to join. The creator of the server is entirely responsible for the rules and policies that are followed on their particular server, instead of a hosting firm. This makes it particularly attractive for those tired of Twitter's perceived impartiality, as each user can decide which servers they prefer the rules of. Hence, several users announced shifting to Mastodon and have posted their profiles on Twitter, causing an uprise in the mentions of the network.
Natural Selection and Competition
Although Mastodon ended up trending on Twitter's very own platform, that may very well be all it ends up being; a trend.
For starters, Mastodon is harder to use than Twitter and has a much smaller audience than Twitter does currently. This makes accessibility and viability of the network as the new Twitter much more difficult. The popularity may be temporary, and people may soon forget all about Mastodon.
However, the growing dissatisfaction is evident; the people want something, and Twitter has failed them. Instead of a potential competitor, this incident should be seen as a sign for the direction the consumers are headed today, and the need to cater to the same.