Mastodon downloads fall 99% from mid-November after rush form Twitter users

February 17, 2023, 3:24 PM UTC
Twitter logo displayed on a phone screen and Mastodon logo displayed on a laptop screen are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on November 14, 2022.
Jakub Porzycki—NurPhoto/Getty Images

Not long after Elon Musk took over Twitter and began radically transforming the social media site, interest in alternatives spiked. And one of the biggest beneficiaries of that apparent migration was Mastodon, which was so overwhelmed that new users had to wait days to have their accounts verified so that they could begin posting.

Times have changed.

A new report from 42matters, a mobile and connected TV intelligence company, finds that downloads of Mastodon are down 99% from their mid-November peak. While Mastodon and its related apps were once being downloaded as much as 447,000 times per day, they’re now down to less than 5,000.

Mastodon is a distributed social network that’s not contained to a single app. Beyond the namesake, users also utilize Tusky (Android), tooot (iOS, Android), Megalodon (Android), Ivory (iOS), Tootle (iOS), Mast (iOS), Ice Cubes (iOS), Linky (iOS), Mercury (iOS), Mastoot (iOS), Fedilab (Android), AndStatus (Android), Subway Tooter (Android), Twidere (Google Play), Metatext (iOS), and Toot! (iOS).

Collectively, says 42matters, those apps have been downloaded more than 6.7 million times since last November. The vast majority of those downloads were in November itself.

Mastodon is hardly a new social media site. Founded in 2016, it saw its active user count skyrocket from 300,000 to 2.5 million after Musk became Twitter’s owner, which raised fears for long-time users, who have utilized it as a refuge for groups that have received harassment elsewhere.

Despite the drop off in new users, 42matters says Mastodon is anything but a flash in the pan.

“While Mastodon hasn’t achieved the critical mass necessary to establish itself as a legitimate threat to Twitter, it’s nevertheless one of the platform’s strongest new competitors,” the report read. “The roughly six million downloads generated by the iOS and Android versions of Mastodon mean it’s well ahead of rivals like Gab, GETTR, Truth Social, and Parler. … While fashioning itself as a refuge for Musk critics might juice downloads, they’ll need more than that if they want to build a robust community.”

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