Mastodon is by far the most popular ethical social network with millions of users. You can watch their official video above, which explains how the site works.
It’s a bit like a mixture of Facebook and Twitter, with 500 characters posts, photo/video/audio posts and a choice of privacy levels (public, friends only, individuals only). All posts are shown in chronological order, there are no algorithms and no ads.
Behind the scenes, Mastodon is a bit different to most social networks: instead of being one big site, it’s a network of thousands of smaller independent sites (called “instances”) that are all linked together. Whichever site you sign up on, you can make friends with anyone on any other site because all the sites are connected. The sites are mostly community-owned and supported by donations from users.
The process of linking together lots of small sites into a network is called “federation”. Federation may sound unfamiliar, but it’s actually a process all of us use all the time, even if we don’t realise it.
Even better, your Mastodon account lets you follow people on other federated alternative social networks like Instagram alternative PixelFed, YouTube alternative PeerTube, Facebook alternative Friendica and many others. This alliance of federated social networks is called “the Fediverse”.
You can try Mastodon by signing up at one of the sites below, and you can use your account on one of the listed Mastodon apps. (We’ve also done some hints and tips for new users.)
ANDROID APPS – Tusky
MASTODON TRUNK – Click here to find people to follow on Mastodon by topic
p.s. If you enjoy using Mastodon and want to start your own instance as part of the network, you can do so very easily without any technical knowledge at masto.host
Friendica is a Facebook-style social network with similar features including events and photo albums.
Like Mastodon, Friendica is made up of many smaller sites linked together through federation. The smaller sites that make up the Friendica network are called “nodes”.
If you decide to sign up, you can register at the sites below.