Time to leave the nest – Migrating from Twitter to Mastodon

1. Background

After the richest man alive Elon Musk [1] bought Twitter on 2022-10-28, the climate for freedom of speech has drastically changed, making Twitter users look for alternative social media, which are not under the control of super-rich individuals. Among the most mentioned alternatives is the federated social media MASTODON, which is based on the open Activity Pub protocol allowing different “federated” servers to talk with each other.

Note: This blog will be updated in the future.

2. Mastodon

You can find help to learn the basics of Mastodon here:

  • https://joinmastodon.org
  • https://mastodon.help
  • https://fedi.tips
  • https://pad.wolkenbar.de/s/mastodon# (Wonderful introduction! German only)

2.1  The Fediverse (Activity Pub based social networks)

    Social Networks which use the Activity Pub Protocol and, therefore, are part of the “Fediverse” of servers can communicate with each other, but have different priorities on media types, such as text (long, short), images, or video.

    Other Activity Pub-based platforms include:

    • BookWyrm (for social reading), https://joinbookwyrm.com

    2.2 Selection of Mastodon servers for activists

    While topic-related servers will give you better content and contacts with respect to your personality and interests, generic servers are more suitable to connect to a wider spectrum of different people and interests without causing friction because of your obvious political orientation. For example, if you sign up at climatejustice.social you maybe perceived as a social justice warrior, which may make it more difficult to hang out with people online without these interests, e.g. neighbours or colleagues. It is, of course, also possible to have multiple accounts on different servers.

    Note: In my personal experience, on  the official, generic servers, ie mastodon.social and mastodon.online, users often post private, trivial content (eg “Good morning! :-)” with a foto of their breakfast) which I find distracting and even irritating, therefore, my preference would be a more content-oriented server community.

    • Twitter-Mastodon Migration Tools:
      • Selection of Mastodon server based on Twitter contacts: https://pruvisto.org/debirdify
      • Find Twitter contacts again on Mastodon: https://fedifinder.glitch.me
    • Generic Servers:
      • https://mastodon.social (official, original)
      • https://mastodon.online  (official, follow-up)
      • https://mas.to
    • Activist servers:
      • https://mastodon.green, Server for people in EU running on green energy and planting trees, commercial
      • https://climatejustice.social, https://climatejustice.global
      • https://dhub.social
    • Scientist servers:
      • Publishing scientists: https://fediscience.org/about
      • List of science-related community servers: https://fediscience.org/server-list.html
    • Academics on Mastodon (curated lists)
      • https://github.com/nathanlesage/academics-on-mastodon
      • https://twitter.com/TheDandelionHub/status/1589395500507475968?s=20&t=DQlEsHYqHKI0ctIrC8hsSg
    • Selected Key Opinion Leaders in the Climate & Eco movement:
      • Greta Thunberg, @gretathunberg@mastodon.nu
      • Peter Kalmus, @ClimateHuman@climatejustice.social
      • Michael Mann, @MichaelEMann@fediscience.org
      • Martin Hundhausen, @m_hundhausen@mastodon.green
      • Reinhard Steurer, @steurer@mas.to
      • Volker Quaschning, @VQuaschning@mastodon.green
      • Claudia Kemfert, @ckemfert@mastodon.social
      • Özden Terli, @terliwetter@mastodon.social
      • Stefan Holzheu, @HolzheuStefan@mastodon.green
      • Jörg Alt, @JoergAltSJ@mas.to
      • Nils Melzer, @nilsmelzer@friendica.utzer.de

    2.3 Security-related issues

    Selected virus scanners (cf meta-scanner virustotal.com) flag some Mastodon instances as “malicious” (eg spreading trojans). According to the explanations by Mastodon service provider Hugo Gameiro  [3], the issue seems not to be the Mastodon software (servers) but users sharing links to corrupted websites. There seems to be also a history of false positive reporting of Mastodon instances by some virus scanner software, eg Malware Bytes [4], however, the vendors are slow to act on it, maybe because of the large number of Mastodon domains. Virus scanner vendors can be contacted via this address list to correct potential “false positives” [5]. It is recommended to subscribe to the GitHub thread [3] to get updates on the issue.


    [1] https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/012715/5-richest-people-world.asp

    [2] https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-63402338

    [3] https://github.com/mastodon/mastodon/discussions/18688

    [4] https://forums.malwarebytes.com/topic/282226-mstdnsocial-mastodon-instance-blocked/

    [5] https://github.com/yaronelh/False-Positive-Center