Elon Musk has officially bought Twitter and some users of the social network really don’t like that. But if you’re among them, what alternatives do you have?
The short answer is not many; Twitter is not quite unique, but it certainly stands apart from most social networks, which is one of the reasons why it has built up a dedicated base of around 300 million monthly active users.
While I’m not suggesting you’d want to know how to delete your Twitter account simply because of the new ownership regime, it never hurts to give other platforms a try — if only so that you know what the options are should things change in the future. Or maybe you just love social media so much that you want to add a couple of new platforms into your daily mix.
Of course, you could also spend more time on Instagram or Facebook instead, but given those platforms are owned by a different billionaire, that may not follow you. The massively popular TikTok and Snapchat, meanwhile, don’t necessarily tick that Twitter box of impassioned debate and breaking news.
So here are three genuine Twitter alternatives you can try right now.
CounterSocial might well be the Twitter alternative that most closely resembles the look and feel of the original. As with Twitter, you can post messages, or ‘toots’ (of up to 500 characters), follow other accounts, reply or ‘boost’ (retweet) posts or send DMs. But the big difference is that it’s designed to be free of bots, trolls, disinformation, ads and sponsored content. It even blocks all posts from certain countries that it deems to be malicious players in the social sphere.
It’s free to use, but there’s also a paid version that adds extra functionality, including third-party mobile apps, editing and more. There are also apps for iOS and Android, or you can use it via your browser on desktop.
CounterSocial already claims to have 63.8 million users, but it struggled under the weight of new signups yesterday. However, it’s working fine as of the time of writing and it could be well worth checking out.
Mastodon is less a social network and more a decentralized platform for creating your own social networking community, or ‘Instance’. The idea is that you create your own instance, setting the topic and rules as you see fit, but also join others.
It launched in 2017 in Germany and claims to have 4.4 million users across thousands of communities, and like CounterSocial it has a 500-character limit on its posts, also called ‘toots’. There are built-in anti-abuse tools and each instance has a moderator, reducing the chance of negative interactions.
While there’s no official app, it’s supported by multiple third-party apps on iOS and Android, but I will caution that the learning curve is a little steeper than on some platforms.
Try Mastodon: Desktop
OK, so Reddit isn’t really a social network in the same way that Twitter is, but it does share many of the some advantages (and disadvantages).
While you can view an endless feed of new posts (based on either the most popular topics or your own custom feed), you’re more likely to spend time diving into specific forums, or Subreddits. There are thousands of these, covering everything from politics to sports to music and much more, but the real joy comes in delving into the more esoteric subs — for instance r/AnimalsBeingBros, r/dataisbeautiful, r/pixel_phones gold r/SeveranceAppleTVPlus. If you can think of it, it probably exists.
Posts are boosted based on how many up- or down-votes they get, and you can comment, follow and share to your heart’s content. If engaging in intelligent debate/arguing with strangers is what you want from a social network, you’ll find it on Reddit. Just be aware that it’s not exactly free of misinformation or disturbing content if you take a wrong turn.