Why Mastodon is touted as the alternative Twitter

STORY: The mammoth-branded social network is seeing a surge in new signups

Mastodon was founded five years ago by German programmer Eugen Rochko

It looks much like Twitter, with short posts often featuring links and hashtags

But users don’t Tweet, they “toot”

Unlike Twitter, it’s not owned by any one company

Mastodon is a decentralized network of servers, or “instances” in its own jargon

No single person or entity can control it, and users can even set up their own server

It’s crowdfunded, and gets a small grant from the EU

On Monday, Rochko said user numbers for Mastodon had surpassed 1 million after rising by more than 3,000 per hour

However, the total remains miles behind Twitter’s 238 million

And critics say the decentralized system makes it chaotic and hard to navigate

Other Twitter alternatives include Discord, previously a favorite among gamers