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Mastodon logo

Mastodon is a social networking and microblogging service. While similar to Twitter, it has many different aspects and features, many of which make it attractive to the furry community.


Mastodon and its flagship instance,, were first released on October 5, 2016, with a goal to create and foster an ad-free, community-maintained social media platform.[1]

The key functional difference between Mastodon and Twitter is that Mastodon is a decentralized network of independently-maintained servers (called "Instances"), whereas Twitter's servers are all owned and operated by Twitter itself. Mastodon uses an open-source server platform which allows virtually anyone with sufficient server space and connectivity to join its network. This allows for servers to have domain names that attract various communities, including furry communities.

On December 1, 2017, the total number of user accounts across all instances reached one million.[2] As of December 13, 2017, there were 1234 active instances, averaging 826 users per instance.[3], and according to a blog post by co-creator Eugen Rochko, these have risen to 1,627,557 users on 3,460 instances by its second anniversary.[4]

Following the purchase and immediate decline of Twitter in October 2022, interest in Mastodon grew significantly.[5] Nearly 500,000 accounts and over 1100 instances were created among the various federated instances on Mastodon between October 27 and November 7, 2022.[6] [7]


How Instances work[edit]

Mastodon instances talk to and verify each other through a process called federation.[8] This allows for users of different instances to view, follow, and communicate with each other, similar to e-mail. The overall network of federated instances, as well as instances of similar federated platforms using the same protocol, is colloquially called The Fediverse. The original protocol used to communicate across The Fediverse, OStatus, is also an open standard; however, Mastodon moved to ActivityPub in 2017, and removed support for OStatus in October 2019. [9]

Each Mastodon instance has an administrator (or multiple administrators), who installs and maintains the Mastodon software suite, determines the name of their instance, and set other individual rules and server parameters for their instance. They may also create a distinct theme for their instance, including color schemes, graphics, language settings, and custom emoji. For privacy and safety concerns, administrators (as well as site moderators) have the right (and, as part of The Fediverse, often an obligation) to suspend or ban users on their instances who are violating the rules of the instance, The Fediverse, or the laws of their locality. Administrators also have the ability to blacklist other instances as a whole that are either out-of-date, poorly administered, have settings undesirable to their users, allow unhidden NSFW or offensive content, or harbor malicious users or spammers.

Users' account perspective[edit]

A prospective user can create a Mastodon account on almost any instance in the Fediverse; however, some instances are open for immediate use after creating an account, while others require that instance administrator's approval before their account is created. Once created, a user will log into their instance's account to post content using their federated username of Users can view and post content either from their instance's website or via one of several community-supported mobile apps.[10]

A post to Mastodon is usually called a toot. Like Twitter, Mastodon allows users to toot text, image, audio, and video content, as well as use hashtags to allow for tagging of content for easier searching. Mastodon has a limit of 500 characters per toot, as opposed to 280 characters per tweet. Instance admins can choose to increase the character limit.[11] Users can, by default, toot up to 8 megabytes of content per toot, but this is adjustable by an instance administrator. Furthermore, each individual toot can have separate privacy settings of public, unlisted (public but not listed on federated timelines), private (followers-only), and direct.

A major feature of Mastodon is that toots can also have hidden content. A built-in content warning mechanism is available on each toot, where the majority of a toot's content can be hidden behind warning text and a button that requires a viewer to click to read the rest. This is especially useful (and often encouraged) when a user toots content that is sensitive, lengthy, spoiler-ish, or NSFW. Pictures and video in a toot can also be marked as sensitive, regardless of whether they are behind a content warning, requiring the viewer to click on that media to view it.

Users can also "favorite" and "boost" toots, which are analogous to "like" and "retweet" on Twitter.

A user's profile has an avatar, header, small biographical field, and four free-form entries called "metadata". The latter are useful for stating one's pronouns, species, location, and other small information.

User interface[edit]

The website view of a Mastodon instance has a similar look and feel to Twitter's Tweetdeck product, where various pieces of content are viewed in columns, such as:

  • "Home", a feed of toots of all followed users
  • "Notifications", a feed of toots in which the user is mentioned or replied to
  • "Local Timeline", a feed of all public toots on the user's instance
  • "Federated Timeline", a feed of all public toots across all instances
  • "Bookmarks", a feed of saved posts
  • "Lists", a feed of certain public toots filtered by the user's criteria

This view changes to a single column and a series of buttons to select columns when viewed on a mobile platform (or if a web browser's width is reduced to a certain amount).

In addition to the website view, several apps for both mobile and desktop have been developed. As of November 2022, 22 apps are listed at Join Mastodon. [12]


As a whole, the mascot of Mastodon is the mastodon itself, a non-anthropomorphic predecessor of the mammoth and the elephant[13]. However, administrators may introduce their own mascots, both anthropomorphic and not, as well as part of their instance's theme.

Mastodon and furry[edit]

Because of the level of customization and self-identification of Mastodon instances, as well as the ability to set privacy and visibility per toot, furry groups were among the first to create and populate instances.

Current furry-related instances include:

Website Users Focus Registration 43 12 New users require approval. 79 Open registration. 1,732 13 Otters New users require approval. 113 Babyfurs New users require approval. 4,016 Open registration. 12 Bats Open registration. 52 Bears New users require approval. 31 Avians, Birds New users require approval. 451 Inflation New users by invite only. 29 Hyenas Open registration. 27 Open registration. 1,062 New users require approval. 23 17 Monsters Open registration. 7 Cruxes Open registration. 528 Babyfurs Open registration. 227 Technology, VRChat New users require approval. 115 Technology New users require approval. 12 Open registration. 15 Fursuiting New users require approval. 23 Mustelids 147 Dragons Open registration. 2,680 My Little Pony New users require approval. 12 New users by invite only. 124 Technology Open registration. 105 Oceanian furries Open registration. 9 New users by invite only. 13 Furality Online Xperience convention New users require approval. 7 Open registration. 571 New users require approval. 140 Open registration. 945 Technology New users require approval. 6 40 Open registration. 144 Fursuiting New users require approval. 627 Vore New users require approval. 60 Hypertrophilia Open registration. 11 Reptiles, kobolds New users require approval. 103 Furry pornography Open registration. 86 Furry art, Photography Open registration. 60 Kangaroos New users require approval. 122 Open registration. 73 Otherkin, therians New users require approval. 444 Macro, micro Open registration. 7 PhiliFur convention New users require approval. 36 Furry conventions 47 Open registration. 10 Transgender furries New users require approval. 258 Sergals New users by invite only. 394 New users by invite only. 12,771 New users by invite only. 53 29 Open registration. 29 Therians New users require approval. 888 New users require approval. 2 Paws 3,539 109 Furry art, photography Open registration. 145 Furry art Open registration. 485 Plush toys New users require approval. 357 My Little Pony New users require approval. 241 New users require approval. 8 Open registration. 11 Dragons, scalies Open registration. 105 Foxes Open registration. 27 32 Sharks New users require approval. 148 New users require approval. 6 Inflation New users require approval. 71 New Zealand furries New users require approval. 13 Scottish furries 264 Open registration. 4 German furries New users require approval. 44 Open registration. 15 New users require approval. 55 Avians Open registration. 62 Inflatables, balloonies Open registration. 10 Inflatables, balloonies New users require approval. 1,117 Open registration. 7 13 Synths 22 Otherkin, therians New users require approval. 500 Body positivity, kink New users require approval. 47 New users require approval. 100 Body positivity, gaming, technology 20 Finnish furries New users require approval. 182 Transformation Open registration. 5 Open registration. 26 Transformation Open registration. 232 Fatfurs New users require approval. 130 Open registration. 22 New users require approval. 3,499 New users by invite only.

See also[edit]


  1. Join Mastodon Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  2. Mastodon User Count account on Tooted December 1, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  3. [1] Network drilldown for December 13, 2017.
  4. [2] Mastodon's 2 Year Anniversary!
  5. [3]The Guardian: What is Mastodon? Accessed 14 Nov 2022.
  6. [4] Techcrunch article. Accessed 14 Nov 2022.
  7. [5]Post by Eugen Rochko. Accessed 14 Nov 2022.
  8. "How exactly is it decentralized?" Mastodon FAQ on GitHub. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  9. [ "Remove Salmon and PubSubHubbub #11205 "] Remove Salmon and PubSubHubbub #11205. Retrieved November 25, 2022.
  10. Mastodon App List Mastodon client app list. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  11. How to increase the character limit for toots in Mastodon, posted November 8, 2021.
  12. [6] Join Mastodon apps. Retrieved November 25, 2022.
  13. "What is a Mastodon?". Mastodon FAQ on GitHub. Retrieved December 13, 2017.

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