Mastodon, a competitor to Twitter, declines funds to keep its non-profit status

Mastodon, a competitor firm of Twitter, has turned down more than five investment proposals. Instead, the proposals have been from Silicon Valley VC companies in recent months. This is because its inventor promised to defend the non-profit status of the rapidly expanding social media site.

Elon Musk bought Twitter for a sum of $44 billion in the month of October amid worries over his management of the social media platform, whereas Mastodon is an open-source microblogging platform. It was created in 2016 by German software engineer Eugen Rochko, and the network has witnessed a rise in users.


Following the product’s rapid rise, Rochko said he had requests from more than five US-based investors. The investors want to put “hundreds of thousands of dollars” into it.
But he said that Mastodon’s non-profit status was “untouchable.” Moreover, he said that its independence and the variety of moderating methods available on its servers contributed to its appeal.

“Mastodon will not turn into everything you hate about Twitter,” said Rochko. “The fact that it can be sold to a controversial billionaire, the fact that it can be shut down go bankrupt, and so on. It’s the difference in paradigms [between the platforms].”

After sharing information on the route of Musk’s private plane, Twitter briefly blocked the accounts of Mastodon and many journalists this month. Twitter also said it would prohibit connections to other social media sites. The sites included Mastodon, but it subsequently changed its mind.’

Mastodon has several independently monitored servers

In reaction, Rochko said in a blog post that this was a “stark reminder that centralized platforms may impose arbitrary and unjust constraints on what you can and can’t say.” He also noted that Mastodon’s monthly active users climbed from 300,000 to 2.5 million between October and November.

Data from Sensor Tower shows that daily Mastodon downloads increased from 6,000 on October 27, the day Musk purchased Twitter, to a peak of 243,000 on November 18. In addition, the use of other, more niche competitors’ websites, like Tumblr, has also skyrocketed.

Mastodon comprises several decentralized, independently monitored servers yet shares many of Twitter’s features. For example, the so-called “federated” method allows users to join one server. After that, they can communicate with users on other servers.

Mastodon’s only shareholder, Rochko, received €2,400 per month in salary last year, which he claimed had subsequently increased by €500, according to the company’s 2021 annual report.
Donations will continue to be the main source of funding for Mastodon. The website raises more than £25,000 monthly from its 8,500 patrons on the membership site Patreon. In the six months from June to December 2021, total profits were slightly over €55,000.

Some servers are having trouble keeping up with the increased amount of traffic. Additionally, there is uncertainty about the moderation procedures on various sites, which has caused issues for new users.

Mastodon may develop into a “satellite” platform to Twitter, Josh Cowls of the Oxford Internet Institute said, “seeing increasing use at times when Twitter is down, as well as in response to additional Musk-related outrages.”

Mastodon’s long-term goal, according to Rochko, is to displace Twitter and other for-profit social networks.