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As Twitter backlash grows, rival Mastodon reaches 2.5 million monthly users

(CNN) Twitter rival Mastodon has grown eight times its size in a matter of weeks, going from approximately 300,000 users in October to 2.5 million in November, according to a blog post by the platform's founder, Eugen Rochko.

The eye-popping growth figure comes as a wave of Twitter users have announced their plans to switch services amid the erratic leadership of Twitter's new owner, Elon Musk.

"We are excited to see Mastodon grow and become a household name in newsrooms across the world, and we are committed to continuing to improve our software to face up to new challenges that come with rapid growth and increasing demand," Rochko wrote.

As of Tuesday morning, Mastodon's app stood at number 8 among free social networking apps on the Google Play Store and at number 11 in the social networking category on Apple's app store. (Mastodon is a decentralized social network, meaning that there are also numerous third-party apps for the platform beyond its own.)

Despite Mastodon's rapid rise, Twitter remains far larger, reporting 238 million monetizable daily users in July. The company has not reported financial metrics since then, as Musk closed his deal to buy Twitter, taking it private, in October.

Twitter has sought to stem some of its user losses by clamping down on sharing on its platform. Last week, it quietly began blocking links to Mastodon. Then it made that practice an explicit policy on Sunday, before a vocal backlash forced Musk to suspend the policy less than 24 hours later.

In addition to affecting Mastodon, the new policy had also covered links to Facebook, Instagram and Truth Social, and said users may be suspended for displaying their handles for any of those platforms in their Twitter profiles.

Twitter's short-lived ban on promotion of other social media platforms prompted some users to accuse Musk of abandoning his commitment to free speech. The incident had coincided with Twitter's suspension of several journalists who cover Musk, which prompted still further defections from Twitter.

In the blog post, which reflect the Mastodon founder's first remarks since the link ban, Rochko highlighted Musk's significant power as owner and CEO of Twitter.

"This is a stark reminder that centralized platforms can impose arbitrary and unfair limits on what you can and can't say while holding your social graph hostage," Rochko wrote.

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