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Half a million people join the fediverse in November, most joining Mastodon

The Mastodon logo

More than 500,000 people have joined the fediverse (federation + universe) this month following Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, this is according to data from Fediverse Observer. The Fediverse Observer stats page updates the latest month’s numbers in near real time as the month progresses, and so far, user numbers are up over half a million compared to October.

Total number of Fediverse users

In October, there were 5.304 million people in the fediverse and at the time of writing there are now 5.825 million people there. The fediverse consists of lots of different platforms that can talk to one another, primarily through ActivityPub, though, there are some exceptions. By far the most popular platform is Mastodon, which boasts 4.613 million users. The second biggest is Diaspora with more than 600,000 accounts, and the third biggest is PeerTube – an alternative to YouTube.

New users aren’t the only things that have increased sharply this month, new servers rose from 12,597 in October to 13,963 at the time of writing. Server numbers are important because unlike centralized social media, the fediverse consists of lots of different instances of Mastodon, Diaspora, and other platforms that all communicate with each other.

Total number of servers in the fediverse

The fediverse is not a new concept, despite all the media coverage it’s getting right now. Mastodon has been around since 2016 and has gained a bit of fanfare in the past, which largely died down. Going back to 2010, Diaspora, stylized as Diaspora*, launched and was covered by the New York Times. While initially developed at blistering speeds by its four co-founders, the project was later handed over to community, and while it’s still being worked on, has become a bit less popular than the newer Mastodon.

It’ll be very surprising, frankly, if the switch to the fediverse does any real damage to Twitter. Social networks have your friends on them, a lot of your digital history is there, and moving somewhere else is a lot of hassle. Nevertheless, given the sharp increase of new users it might be different this time, and we may see more people actively using fediverse platforms.

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