Elon Musk’s agreement to buy Twitter is sending some users searching for alternative platforms — with mixed success.
Alternative social media platforms have been trending on Twitter since Monday morning, when it was reported a deal was near, including newcomers CounterSocial and Truth Social. Even pioneering social networks such as Tumblr and MySpace were floated as options to avoid a Musk-run social platform — though not very seriously.
The ad-free social network claims to have 63.8 million monthly visitors and aims to be free of bots, trolls and deepfakes. It also promises not to sell users' data. But as people raced to set up accounts on Monday, the site crashed.
Users complained about the experience or tweeted that they had joined CounterSocial but didn’t know how to use the platform.
Little is known about CounterSocial’s origins. Its iOS and Android apps, which launched in December 2020, have been downloaded fewer than 5,000 times globally, mobile analytics firm Apptopia reported. It’s currently ranked 32nd on the Apple App Store’s social network charts.
The social network tied to former US president Donald Trump is currently ranked ninth on the App Store social network charts. Apptopia reported it has a total of 1.71 million downloads on iOS and is not yet available on Android.
Mr Musk says he aims to make Twitter “an inclusive arena for free speech”, stoking speculation he would reinstate Mr Trump.
While Mr Trump told Fox News on Monday that he doesn’t intend to return to Twitter, the idea he might leave Truth Social was enough to torpedo the shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company aiming to merge with Truth Social owner Trump Media & Technology Group.
Dwac shares dropped 13 per cent at the close of trading in New York.
Then there’s Mastodon, a decentralised social network with 4.4 million users, according to its website.
In 2017, Mastodon was heralded as a Twitter-killer when it launched. Based out of Germany, it also offers free, open-source software with the goal of allowing social networks to flourish.