Decentralized social network Mastodon grows to 655k users after Elon Musk acquires Twitter

The Twitter drama following the Elon Musk acquisition has some users looking for a way out. In recent days, alternative social apps and microblogging platforms have seen big gains, most notably the open-source, decentralized Twitter alternative Mastodon. The founder and CEO of the service recently announced that Mastodon has reached 1 million monthly active usersafter more than half a million users joined the network from Twitter deal closes on October 27. (Now is reached 1.5 million.) But Mastodon isn’t the only app to profit from the Twitter cataclysm.

In a new report, the application intelligence firm Sensor Tower analyzes the growth of social applications after Musk took over.

It notes that Mastodon saw approximately 322,000 new downloads from US app stores in the 12 days following the Twitter acquisition (October 27 to November 7), which is more than 100 times the 3,000 it saw in the previous 12 -day period. Globally, the app grew 657% to 1 million installs in the same timeframe from October 27 to November 7, up from 15,000 in the 12 days prior.

Mastodon’s other third-party clients also saw a jump, with Metatext and Tootle growing from less than 1,000 installs to 19,000 and 7,000 respectively between the two periods.

But Mastodon isn’t the only network seeing a surge in app installs, it turns out.

Tumblr also saw its US app installs grow 96% from 47,000 to 92,000 between the two time periods. Additionally, its global installs grew 77% from 170,000 to 301,000.

Image Credits: Sensor tower

In addition, alternative social app CounterSocial grew 2,300% to 24,000 installs in US app stores in the 12 days following the acquisition and grew 3,200% globally with 33,000 installs, the report said.

Another application intelligence firm, data.ai, split the data in a slightly different way. It examines the growth in downloads of various social apps worldwide during a seven-day period following the acquisition (October 27 to November 2), then compares it to the previous seven-day period.

Its data, shared exclusively with TechCrunch, also confirmed the significant gains made by Mastodon and CounterSocial in terms of global install growth between the two time periods. Mastodon’s installs jumped 2,200% and CounterSocial’s grew 1,200%, the analysis found.

But Data.ai looked further up and down the app store charts and found that a number of other social apps are seeing bumps beyond direct Twitter alternatives.

These include David’s Disposable (up 83% over both time periods), nFollowers (up 50%), CocoFun (up 46%), Substack Reader (up 24%), Tribel (up 11%), Tumblr (up 7%) and Pinterest (up 2%). Substack, in particular, has touted itself as a social community since its acquisition of Twitter, even launching a new discussion feature which allows writers and their audience to participate in threaded chats. Dispo had fun trolling the Twitter chaos in several tweets and memes, as one who celebrates how Musk doesn’t own the Dispo app.

Image Credits: data.ai

That’s not to say all the drama was bad for Twitter. Surprisingly, some people even installed the app recently after the acquisition, it turns out.

Data.ai shows Twitter app installs jumped 17% since the acquisition, while Sensor Tower’s look at the slightly longer time frame saw a 21% increase. The latter said Twitter saw 7.6 million global installs and $502,000 in user spend in the 12 days following the acquisition, up from 6.3 million installs and $303,000 in spend in the previous 12-day period.

However, these user spending numbers should be taken with a grain of salt for now, as Twitter Blue’s launch was halted after only being live for a few days. There is no reason to believe that these numbers yet indicate a significant increase in subscription demand with long-term sustainability. That data will come in time. If nothing else, it shows Musk’s ability to market things to his fanbase and the general curiosity of users about what’s going on with Twitter’s products right now.

Image Credits: Sensor tower

While Twitter may have seen slight gains this week, not everyone is happy with the changes. Some angrier Twitter users voiced their dismay at the acquisition in reviews of the Twitter app on the App Store.

On November 5, 2022, the app saw a spike in negative reviews as 119 one-star iOS reviews were added — the most it’s seen in a single day during this latest spike in negative reviews, also according to data from Sensor Tower.

However, this isn’t the biggest flurry of negative feedback Twitter has ever seen, we understand. Other incidents have caused greater irregularities. After Trump was banned, for example, Twitter saw 801 one-star reviews on January 9, 2021. It also saw a spike in March 2022 after the new timeline was introduced and in April when Elon Musk said he was buying Twitter.

His biggest spike in negative reviews this year wasn’t even this week — it was on Oct. 28, when Musk’s deal was finalized.

Overall, however, the Israeli-Palestinian crisis in May 2021 led to the highest number of new negative reviews, followed by Trump’s ban.

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