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What are the alternatives to Twitter if Elon Musk’s company shuts down?

With staff members taking a stand against the new ownership, Twitter users are starting to migrate to Mastodon, CounterSocial and Reddit.

What are the leading Twitter alternatives?

The future of Twitter appears uncertain at the moment after a swathe of staff exits as a result of Elon Musk’s chaotic stewardship of the company. Despite having only taken charge a few weeks ago, Musk has done little to convince staff that he can make the company profitable after his leveraged buyout.

The final straw for many appears to have been a sharply-worded email circulated to staff in which he demanded they sign up for “long hours at high intensity,” or leave. If the unthinkable were to happen and Twitter goes under, where else can you look for an alternative platform?

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Previously a little-known social media site with only a few hundred thousand users, Mastodon has been the major beneficiary of Twitter’s trouble in recent weeks. Formed in 2016 the site does not feature a single unified timeline, instead providing the open source tools for users to create their own self-defined servers, known as instances.

For those fleeing Twitter, the decentralised nature of Mastodon could be a major appeal. There is no overarching owner of the platforms created on the technology and each server is free to define its own terms of use and content moderation policies.

Since Musk’s takeover of Twitter was completed on 27 October the number of Mastodon users has risen to more than 1.6 million, a gain of more than 1 million people.


Another more underground selection for a Twitter alternative could be CounterSocial, the self-branded ‘next-generation’ social media site. Created in 2017 by an anonymous American hacker known at ‘the Jester’, its audience has swelled to more than 63 million monthly visitors.

The site allows users to create their own online communities and utilised a broad homepage design to bring together multiple feeds of news and information.

However the main focus of CounterSocial is to guard against the bots and trolls that can influence debate on Twitter. The company markets itself with the tagline: “No trolls. No abuse. No ads. No fake-news. No foreign influence ops.”

It has blocked access to the site in China, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and Syria due to concerns that those countries act as points of origin for massive networks of bots and trolls. However this move has been criticised as xenophobic by some, including Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko.


One of the most established names, and one offering perhaps the closest alternative to the content found on Twitter, is Reddit. The online forum does not employ the timeline-centric format found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, structured instead around a series of subreddits.

Subreddits are essentially discreet online communities that focus on a specific topic or format of conversation. It will not deliver the same style of info-heavy timeline that Twitter provides but for users who want to keep up to date on a specific area of interest, Reddit could be the place to go. It is far larger than Mastodon and CounterSocial, with more than 1.5 billion registered users.


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