Mastodon Rejects Funding Offers to Preserve Nonprofit Status, Founder Says

Mastodon, the social media platform that has seen a surge in popularity since Elon Musk took over Twitter, has recently turned down multiple, six-figure investment offers from US venture capital firms, the Financial Times reports(Opens in a new window).

Site founder Eugen Rochko tells the FT that Mastodon’s nonprofit status is “untouchable.” The German software developer added that he rejected the offers in order to protect Mastodon’s independence, and to avoid it turning into “everything you hate about Twitter.”

That includes “the fact that [Twitter] can be sold to a controversial billionaire, the fact that it can be shut down, go bankrupt and so on.”

Mastodon has been the beneficiary of an exodus from Twitter since Elon Musk became the platform’s CEO in late October. The network saw its monthly active users jump from 300,000 to 2.5 million between October and November. 

The site, which was founded in 2016 as a decentralized alternative to Twitter, currently relies on donations for its continued operation. A significant chunk of those donations come from its Patreon page(Opens in a new window), which currently shows it as having over 9,000 donors. 

Earlier this month, Twitter announced a short-lived ban on its users linking to other social media sites, which came just as many users were directing followers to their Mastodon profiles.  Rochko, whose platform also saw its Twitter account temporarily suspended after it shared content about Musk’s private jet, blogged(Opens in a new window) that the ban was a “stark reminder that centralized platforms can impose arbitrary and unfair limits on what you can and can’t say.”

He added: “At Mastodon, we believe that there doesn’t have to be a middleman between you and your audience and that journalists and government institutions especially should not have to rely on a private platform to reach the public.”

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Mastodon markets itself as a free, open-source, decentralized social media platform. Upon signing up, users are asked to choose a server where their account will reside. Servers are grouped by topic and location and each server is run by a different volunteer admin or team that sets the rules for each server. (Here’s our guide on how to choose a Mastodon server.)

Mastodon did not immediately respond to a request for comment

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