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Mastodon is a free and open-source social networking service that was launched in 2016. It is an alternative to centralized social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and is based on the principles of decentralization, privacy, and user control.
Mastodon operates on a federated model, which means that instead of a single centralized server, there are many independent servers, each with their own users, content, and rules. These servers, also known as “instances,” are connected to each other through a protocol called ActivityPub, allowing users on different instances to follow and interact with each other.
Mastodon allows users to post updates, links, images, and videos, and to follow and interact with other users. It also features tools for muting, blocking, and reporting content and users, and allows users to create and join groups or communities around shared interests.
Overall, Mastodon offers an alternative social media experience that prioritizes user control, privacy, and decentralization.