There’s a new social network in town, and it’s coming for Twitter.

Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Mastodon Social — a decentralized text-based social media platform where people can chat in interest groups or “servers” — reached a new 2.5 million monthly user milestone in the wake of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover.

According to a blog post written by the platform’s founder Eugen Rochko, the network “recently exploded in popularity;” it had just 300,000 monthly users in October.

“We are excited to see Mastodon grow and become a household name in newsrooms across the world, and we are committed to continuing to improve our software to face up to new challenges that come with rapid growth and increasing demand,” Rochko wrote in the post.

Mastodon’s sudden growth came as Musk purchased Twitter in October and took the company private. Since then, he’s tried to implement several controversial changes, including banning accounts (including those of journalists) that link to competitors like Mastodon. According to CNN, the policy was suspended less than 24 hours after it was enacted following accusations that Musk was walking back on his stance on free speech.

“This is a stark reminder that centralized platforms can impose arbitrary and unfair limits on what you can and can’t say while holding your social graph hostage,” Rochko wrote in his blog post. “At Mastodon, we believe that there doesn’t have to be a middleman between you and your audience and that journalists and government institutions especially should not have to rely on a private platform to reach the public.”

It’s unclear how many Twitter users have left the platform since Musk’s takeover — the company hasn’t released any new metrics since July. It reported 238 million monetizable daily users at that time.

However, several notable figures have announced their departures from the app as a result of Musk’s leadership, including Elton John, Jim Carrey and Shonda Rhimes.

Sam Silverman

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