“We are excited to announce insulin is free now.”
This was the Tweet solidifying Twitter’s descent into chaos. On November 10, 2022, an account impersonating the American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company made that Tweet. Since the fake account had a blue checkmark, it was incredibly easy to mistake it for the real deal. This move cost the company $15 billion in valuation.
This incident brought widespread attention to the state of Twitter under its new owner, Elon Musk. People found broken features, massive security concerns, aggravated advertisers, little content moderation, and crypto scams just to name a few.
This prompted many to leave the platform and search for better alternatives. If you’re looking to give it up, I’ve prepared a nifty guide for 7 popular Twitter alternatives and what they bring to the table.
What’s Happening to Twitter?
To put it shortly, Elon Musk purchased Twitter on October 27, 2022, and the platform underwent a plethora of changes.
On November 17, Twitter abruptly shut down its offices. Musk gave an ultimatum to employees to drastically change the work environment. This ultimatum included insane working hours, expected overtime, and an intense working pace. It’s estimated around 50% of Twitter employees quit.
When accounting for the fact all Twitter executives were also fired, the company was now effectively running at half capacity. Of course, people started wondering how much longer the platform could go on like this.
It didn’t take long for problems at Twitter to multiply. After the safety teams were let go and a number of accounts previously banned for hate speech were restored, the platform saw an increase in trolling and extreme speech. Scammers and bots also seem to post more frequently than before.
Lack of content moderation isn’t the only issue, though. Some Twitter features seem to break down randomly, even if only for short periods of time. Case in point, Twitter links redirecting users to specific websites. More specifically, users reported links randomly redirecting to Bankruptcy Basics or FTX articles.
Is Twitter broken beyond repair? No, but it’s clear Twitter isn’t going in the right direction at the moment. The biggest concern people have is the future of security and data privacy on the platform. With Musk wanting to monetize several Twitter features, cybersecurity experts are uneasy about what the future holds.
Seeing Twitter’s track record of data breaches and selling user data, including cybercriminals stealing 200+ million users’ email addresses at the end of 2022, things are looking bleak for your personal data.
Should You Quit Twitter?
Many are moving away from Twitter, but with the platform boasting 450 million monthly active users you might wonder: Why is anyone quitting Twitter? Should they even quit? Let’s have a look at the facts.
People and businesses don’t want to quit Twitter. It’s an incredibly popular platform, and whatever following you amassed likely won’t track you over to other platforms. Also, Twitter’s optimized for business needs with features like analytics tools and Tweetdeck to manage different accounts.
That said, the Twitter transition is pushing people to their limits. One example is Musk’s response to Twitter’s slow service, namely clearing up “bloatware”.
Just a few hours later, several Twitter users started reporting issues with the service. People were no longer able to download their Twitter data. Several received security warnings from their antiviruses pertaining to Twitter’s domain, but most notably, Musk’s decision seems to have temporarily broke the two-factor authentication service.
Just three days later, users noticed Twitter’s copyright detection system broke down.
As of November 25, it was reported Twitter lost 50 of its top 100 advertisers. Other advertisers halted their funds until further notice. With no revenue money to support itself, many feel Twitter’s days are numbered.
After an unsuccessfull attempt to push a subscription-based blue check mark for verification, people fear their data will become Twitter’s primary source of income. While paying with your data isn’t anything new for social media platforms, these latest decisions don’t exactly inspire confidence.
If you’re concerned about the privacy of your data, use CyberGhost VPN to keep data mining to a minimum. While this won’t stop platforms like Twitter from recording your activity on the platform, it will protect your IP address, browsing history, and DNS requests from third-party snoopers.
What to Do If You Want to Completely Quit Twitter
If you want to quit Twitter, you can start by deleting your account. This way, you won’t generate any more data for Twitter to profit off you.
After deleting your account, Twitter holds onto your data for 30 days. In case you change your mind, you just need to log back in during this period, and you’ll restore your account.
If you live in a country abiding by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), you can send Twitter a data deletion request. Keep in mind Twitter shares your data with advertisers, and makes it clear GDPR requests can’t be applied to these third parties.
7 Twitter Alternatives Worth Considering
If you were keeping up with online trends at the time, you might remember the Great Tumblr Exodus. Basically, back in 2018 Tumblr banned all adult and sexually explicit content on their platform. Around a quarter of the user base at the time used Tumblr specifically for NSFW content.
As you can imagine, users flocked away in droves, predominantly to Instagram and Twitter. The irony of Twitter users now wanting to switch to Tumblr isn’t lost on anybody.
In response to the news, Tumblr users allegedly started posting more and more cringe content in an attempt to scare Twitter users away. Their motive is to preserve the current culture of Tumblr as many fear an influx of Twitter users would change the platform. Tumblr was aware of the trend and posted a tongue-in-cheek response.
Despite how you might feel about cringe on your dashboard, Tumblr stood the test of time as an online micro-blogging staple. Tumblr has no character limit, supports hashtags and media, and lets you reblog (as in retweet) posts you like. You can even follow tags like on Instagram.
Unfortunately, Tumblr isn’t too big on security. It collects and sells your information, like your username, gender, interests, activity on Tumblr, picture metadata, financial information, IP address, location, and contacts. Thankfully, you can use anonymizing tools like CyberGhost VPN to protect your IP address and connection from data mining.
|No character limit||Limited privacy settings|
|Supports for text, GIF, and media formats||Sells your data|
|You can password-protect your blog with some caveats|
Even since 2017, Mastodon has been promoted as an open-source and more privacy-friendly Twitter alternative. Instead of a flagship website, Mastodon has “instances” you can connect to. Think of these instances as communities centered around themes and topics with their own rules and content moderation guidelines.
On instances.social you can even search for instances based on your interests and preferences.
With this level of customizability, it’s no surprise since Musk’s Twitter takeover, Mastodon gained nearly 500,000 new users in just two weeks. As a popular open-source alternative, a lot of privacy-conscious users and cybersecurity experts jumped ship to Mastodon.
Mastodon supports a 500-character limit, hashtags, images, videos, audio, and polls, so it won’t be much different from your Twitter experience. That said, you won’t find Twitter spaces or blue checkmarks. As a decentralized platform, Mastodon doesn’t have the authority to check your documents and verify your online identity.
What really differentiates Mastodon from Twitter is its role in the Fediverse. The Fediverse is an interconnected web of various social media services. Basically, your Mastodon account gives you access to other decentralized social networks within the Fediverse.
Best of all? It’s completely free of ads.
The hype didn’t last too long though. As November 2022 led to an increase in activity, an unsecure server leaked the data of 150,000 Mastodon users as part of a web scraping attack. The server exposed records associated with a third party, not the official Mastodon servers.
Later reports revealed leaked information included:
- Account name
- Display name
- Profile picture
- Follower count
- Last status update
Luckily, the web scraping attack didn’t compromise passwords or email addresses. Choose your Mastodon instance wisely, and use security tools like CyberGhost VPN to secure your connection from cyber attacks exposing your data.
|Open source||The apps are a bit clunky|
|More private than Twitter||Sign up can be difficult if you don’t know how to search for instances|
|Decentralized network||It might feel very lonely until you find the right instances|
|Interface is similar to Tweetdeck|
In terms of interface and usability, Plurk is a great Twitter alternative. As a micro-blogging service, Plurk has a 210 character limit and allows media like images and GIFs.
That said, Plurk had difficulties gaining popularity worldwide. The Taiwanese platform has a small English-speaking user base, and no option to filter content by language. This means you’ll have to keep scrolling across plurks in different languages.
Plurk was thought to be obsolete after Facebook took over most social media users, but it appears the recent Twitter events are pushing people back to the platform.
Plurk reminds me of a MySpace era where profiles were customizable and featured different backgrounds. Fair warning, this makes some profiles an eye-sore.
Plurk also has a karma system based on your activities. The likes you receive boost your karma which you can use to access custom emojis and stickers.
Unfortunately, Plurk isn’t very privacy-oriented. It collects a lot of personally identifiable information (PII), like:
- You name
- Your age
- Your gender
- Your IP address and internet service provider (ISP)
- Your location
- Your activity on Plurk
|Chronological timeline Good private messaging||Not widely used outside TaiwanLogs a lot of your activity|
|Group chatsFully customizable||No option to filter content by language|
|The interface isn’t very crisp|
|Not a lot of activity|
|No verification system|
Minds is marketed as the social media platform championing for free speech. As a decentralized network, Minds is open source, and claims to be community owned. It also focuses a lot on monetization, and makes direct payments through USD, Bitcoin, and Etherium.
Migrating to Minds seems like a seamless experience because the platform has a feed visually similar to Twitter. Minds doesn’t use artificial intelligence (AI)-like algorithms to determine what you see though. Instead, it sorts your feed chronologically. That said, users can boost their posts for a fee which will significantly bump up their content.
In a world where competition is seen as inherently antagonistic, it seems like a weird move to encourage your competitor to do better.
Minds prides itself as the platform with true free speech. Because of this, extremists, conspiracy theorists, and fundamentalists have found a platform enabling their rhetoric. Bill Ottman, founder and CEO of Minds, is aware of the trend. However, he’s opposed to deplatforming or deleting hateful content in fear of pushing radical extremists to “darker corners of the internet.”
Whether you agree with this approach or not, be mindful you can find hateful content on Minds fairly easily.
|Open source||Its free speech policy allows extremist content|
|More private than Twitter||Only five hashtags per post|
|Has a dislike button|
|Doesn’t use AI for content moderation or determining your feed|
|Built-in analytics tools available for personal and business accounts alike|
Reddit consists of communities so you can easily find what you’re looking for. You can also join communities to personalize your Home dashboard with posts piquing your interest.
The biggest plus for Reddit is its diversity. Whether you want to see cat pictures on r/cats, take a deep dive into political debates on r/PoliticalDiscussion, or learn some crafting on r/DIY, Reddit makes it possible with just one click.
People leaving Twitter for Reddit can quickly discover communities to improve their online experience. Communities called subreddits have their own moderators and rules to weed out trolls, bots, spammers, and other unpleasant behaviors.
Reddit relies on an upvote/downvote system to let the community contribute meaningfully to discussions. Downvoted posts and comments will be automatically hidden and pushed further down.
The number of upvotes and downvotes you receive determines your karma score. Karma doesn’t have many practical benefits, but a good karma score lets you join exclusive communities. Mostly it’s like having a good reputation.
|Posts are predominantly anonymous and it’s great for securing your digital footprint||Posts are predominantly anonymous so you can’t build a following|
|Communities lets you find like-minded people||Communities can turn into an echo chamber|
|No character limit||Posts don’t rely on hashtags|
|NSFW posts allowed in the appropriate subreddits||There’s so much content on Reddit, it’s hard to stand out|
|Subtler ads||Lack of company moderators leads to power trips and fake news spreading in some communities|
|Premium accounts that let you stay ad-free|
|Has an edit feature|
With 1.3 billion users, it doesn’t take much convincing to switch from Twitter to Instagram. Instagram is a social media giant great for individuals and businesses alike. With Twitter treading on shaky ground, some made their move to Instagram.
Artists especially found the platform appealing. No surprise there, since digital art and photography has long called Instagram a home.
Similar to Twitter, you can search for content by hashtags. Good news – it doesn’t have a 280-character limit, so feel free to express yourself to your followers.
If you’re not in the creative part of the internet, Instagram might not be the best option for you. The platform focuses more on image and video formats, as opposed to text, GIFs, or memes. If you don’t have the patience or desire to curate an eye-candy profile, Instagram might also push your posts further down compared to your Photoshop-savvy peers.
Instagram’s data harvesting policies aren’t necessarily worse than Twitter’s, but it shares data with Facebook and Whatsapp to help build a better picture of you. If you’re not comfortable having your information sold to advertisers, Instagram might not be the best Twitter alternative.
|Great for artists and models||Owned by Meta which causes privacy concerns|
|Great and intuitive interface||Posts must feature an image or video|
|Advanced geo-tagging options||The algorithm heavily favors curated images|
|The option to set up a business profile||Studies have linked Instagram to depression and body image concerns|
|The option to private your account||Overwhelming amount of ads|
The Voice over IP (VoIP) and instant messaging social platform gained massive popularity in 2018 among online gaming communities. Discord offers an alternative to the traditional in-game chat without taking up too much bandwidth, so it’s no surprise it’s the #1 platform among gamers.
The second big wave of popularity for Discord began with the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. With text, voice, and video chat available, as well as the integration of bots, Discord servers became a popular way to connect with family and friends, but also a great alternative for small businesses. Discord grew so much over the past two years, it even had to change its slogan from Chat for Gamers to Chat for Communities and Friends.
Twitter and Discord were, for a time, complementary platforms for gaming and niche communities. Now, it seems gamers are just giving up on Twitter.
Discord has a free and paid version. The latter offers perks like custom emojis, 4K video quality, animated avatars, access to activities, and access to up to 200 servers. Each community can also decide its own moderation rules, so make sure you read up on each server.
Discord is a great Twitter alternative if you have a following or regularly interact with a small pool of people. Discord also lets you connect to other like-minded communities so you might have a more pleasant experience than on Twitter.
The French data protection authority, CNIL, fined Discord €800,000 for GDPR breaches in 2022. Discord keeps data for an unspecified amount of time despite having no written data retention policy. No surprise seeing as how popular servers like Illuvium suffered data breaches the year prior.
|Supports text, video, images, and audio||Messages remain on Discord servers even if you delete them or delete your account|
|Support calls||Very small attachment size for free accounts|
|In-browser support||Not the most secure platform which led to data breaches|
|Good customization options for servers|
How to Stay Safe on Social Media
Social media and data mining generally go hand-in-hand. Since these platforms are free to use, they stand to make a profit off of your data.
Let’s make one thing clear. There’s no way to use social media and prevent your data from being harvested. It’s stipulated in the terms and conditions. Unless you use a private social media platform, you can’t stop sharing your data.
That said, you can take steps to mitigate the damage, and keep data mining as low as you can. In addition, it’s a good idea to secure your accounts and prevent unwanted access to your private information.
Here are 10 easy tips to help you stay safe on social media.
- Adjust your privacy settings. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have adjustable privacy settings like location tracking.
- Use strong and unique passwords. Make sure to change them regularly to reduce the risk of unwanted access during a data breach.
- Use multi-factor authentication. Despite Twitter’s mishap, multi-factor authentication like two-factor authentication is a great way to secure your account and prevent unwanted access to your private information.
- Avoid sharing too much. Whatever you post stays online whether it’s on a server in a remote location or a screenshot on someone’s feed. Never share your private information online.
- Use a VPN to keep data mining to a minimum. CyberGhost VPN secures all your internet traffic with uncrackable 256-bit AES encryption and prevents third parties from snooping on you.
- Don’t download files from sources you don’t know. It’s not safe to download files you receive through private messages. There’s no option to let an antivirus scan these before you let it on your device.
- Avoid clicking on suspicious links. Scammers often use shortened links to lure you into shady websites. These can be laced with adware or spyware.
- Don’t use your social media account to log into third party sites. Some services let you register with a Google or Facebook account. This is the easiest way for someone to hijack your login information.
- Avoid online quizzes requiring access to your account details. Quizzes like Which friend will be your bridesmaid? or Who regularly checks out your profile? require access to a lot of your personal information including friends list, contacts, location, among others.
- Think before you click. Interacting with ads, surveys, invites, dashboards, and feeds tells a story about you. It lets the platforms and third parties know what your interests are, what irritates you, and what makes you spend. This data is very valuable to advertisers, criminals, and governments.
Does a VPN Protect You from Data Collection on Social Networks?
A VPN reroutes your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel and changes your IP address. This adds another layer of security to your connection and helps enhance your online anonymity.
CyberGhost VPN is a great tool to help secure your data online, and prevent your ISP, advertisers, and other third parties from snooping on your online activity. Social media networks are a whole other data mining force though.
CyberGhost VPN’s encryption standard makes it difficult for third parties to keep track of your activities as a whole. When you connect to a VPN server, you share the server’s IP address with other people. This makes it impossible to track your activity back to you, since your browsing history is mingled in a pool of online activity. It won’t stop social media platforms from tracking you while you’re logged in but they won’t be able to track you outside their domain.
Prospects on the New Twitter Era
For now, it seems like no platform could ever replace Twitter. Then again, that’s what people said about MySpace decades ago. Let’s not knock one of these 7 Twitter alternatives as solid replacements yet.
No matter when you decide to switch platforms or which one you’ll spend the most time on, take this as an opportunity to bump your online security. Twitter is popular and fun, but not great with handling private user data.
Consider looking into secure and private Twitter alternatives. I think Mastodon turned out to be one of the best alternatives for the Twitter migration. It’s open source, doesn’t run ads, and lets you find instances suited to your interests and preferences.
Besides choosing a more secure platform, you should also take other steps to protect your digital identity. Use CyberGhost VPN to encrypt your internet traffic with AES 256-bit encryption. This adds an extra layer of security to your connection, staves off cyber attacks like man-in-the-middle attacks, and protects your information from snooping.
Scroll through your feed with the peace of mind that comes with added security!
It depends on what you want and what you post. If you’re an artist and want to showcase your work, Instagram might be the best alternative for you. If you want to engage with content suited to your interests, Mastodon or Discord are great platforms for that. Like Twitter’s user interface? Head on over to Plurk!
It depends on what you mean by safe. Your private data was never safe on Twitter because of its business model. Twitter sells your data to advertisers. It has also received fines for mishandling data and suffered data breaches in the past. You can never be 100% safe from data breaches.
The decision to reinstate accounts previously banned for homophobia, transphobia, antisemitism, and other forms of hate speech is making some Twitter users feel unsafe on the platform. That said, Twitter is still safe from a website perspective. It has HTTPS certification, and is considered to be free from malware.
It depends on your needs and wants with the platform. Twitter underwent massive changes, but most average users won’t notice them. With that in mind, if you’re advertising your business, are concerned about data breaches, or disagree with policies that enable hateful content, you should consider switching platforms. If you’re unsure, check out our 7 Twitter alternatives to help you decide on the best one for you.
You can protect your online data by adding an extra layer of security to your connection. Use CyberGhost VPN to encrypt your traffic and make your information unreadable to third parties.