Twitter users looking to defect after Elon Musk deal have few options

Elon Musk says he aims to make Twitter "an inclusive arena for free speech". PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO (BLOOMBERG) - 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 (April 25) morning when it was reported a deal was near, including newcomers CounterSocial and Truth Social.

Even pioneering social networks like 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, according to mobile analytics firm Apptopia. It's currently ranked 32nd on the Apple App Store's social network charts.

Truth Social

The social network tied to Trump is currently ranked ninth on the App Store social network charts. According to Apptopia, it has a total of 1.71 million downloads on iOS and is not yet available on Android.

Musk says he aims to make Twitter "an inclusive arena for free speech," stoking speculation he would reinstate Trump. While 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, a special purpose acquisition company aiming to merge with Truth Social owner Trump Media & Technology Group.


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.

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