Mastodon, an alternative social media outlet to Twitter, has reportedly become the source of woke infighting and journalistic “guardianship”, much to the amusement of media critics and Twitter CEO Elon Musk himself.
After Musk began enacting new policies on the site, including reinstating banned accounts such as former President Trump, several prominent figures announced they would be moving to Mastodon in protest. However, as more and more journalists moved around the site, there were more and more reports of blocking, attacks and outright banning of users for political reasons.
In one case, former Slate podcaster Mike Pesca was suspended from the popular Mastodon “instance,” or server, for verified journalists called journa.host after linking to the New York Times article about the negative consequences of spam blockers. puberty on children. Transgender blogger Parker Malloy attacked Pesca and complained that “anti-trans content” had not been removed from the network. According to The New York Times, Pesca was promptly informed that “he had been suspended for calling Ms. Molloy an ‘activist,’ which was dismissive.”
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“I had to join Mastodon to be called a fanatic by @ParkerMolloy because I said a well-reported NYT article complicated a common claim about puberty blockers. Seems like a huge difference from Twitter,” tweeted Pesca on Saturday.
Malloy was later suspended from journa.host for calling transgender journalist Evan Urquhart a “bootlicker”.
With several similar stories of self-appointed moderators making arbitrary decisions, Twitter users joked that Mastodon had become a haunt of “room-watching” journalists.
“One of the many irritating things about Mastodon is that it allows status-seeking journalists to scrutinize their peers by judging whether they have enough influence or are useful in moving up other people’s career ladders. digital media consultant Heidi N. Moore tweeted Sunday. article on journal.host.
FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver replied, “Mastodon seems like a honey trap for room monitor personality types. Honestly, if Elon migrates all room monitors to Mastodon, that might be his biggest contribution. for the betterment of mankind.”
Musk himself responded to Silver’s tweet: “What’s more fun than a social network made up entirely of room monitors!?”
In a separate tweet, he wrote, “I hope all adjudication room monitors stay on other platforms – please, I implore you.”
“Mastodon is the abyss of woke bookseller-journalist circular firing hell that they always wanted Twitter to be,” Twitter user Comfortably Smug joked.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted: “Above Mastodon – the obscure haven to which liberal journalists flee for fear of free speech even if they cannot understand – they already bar themselves from the most insignificant offenses .It’s like a lab to study the behavior of censorship-hungry rats.”
“Shocked to see that Twitter being kinder and gentler is just as dramatic,” tweeted Katie Herzog of the Blocked and Reported podcast, while her co-host Jesse Singal said, “[T]his collapse only reinforces all my pre-existing opinions about this entire censored team. Let them have their stupid instance of Mastodon so they can leave us alone.”
“Mastodon is already a [colossal] failure, with all the revivals flagging and hanging,” researcher Eli David wrote.
“Mastodon is hell. And it’s hell where every moderator can read your DMs and if they think you’re talking behind their backs, you’ll get banned. It’s the reverse of Twitter, where people can publicly mock @elonmusk and not get banned for it,” said journalist Ian Miles Cheong.
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Several journalists and media pundits offered “final” tweets late last week, believing Twitter would be shut down due to Musk’s policies and mass layoffs. CBS News even announced on Friday that it would suspend its use of Twitter due to “uncertainty.” Media returned to the account less than 48 hours later.
However, some journalists continued to champion Mastodon as a viable option. Joseph Bernstein of The New York Times reported that many members claimed the site was like Twitter without “the meanness”.
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“Many journa.host members use the service the same way they use Twitter, sometimes posting the same text simultaneously on each platform,” Bernstein wrote. “Indeed, at times, journa.host is a lot like Twitter, just without all the non-journalism and most of the badness.”
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