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The founder of Twitter rival Mastodon says he's 'not a fan' of Elon Musk's 'erratic' leadership style

Elon Musk
Mastodon has surged in popularity since Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter.Carina Johansen/Getty Images
  • Eugen Rochko told BBC Newsnight that Elon Musk's leadership style "shows incompetence."

  • Rochko designed social media platform Mastodon as a decentralized alternative to Twitter.

  • Mastodon has recently surged in popularity as users seek alternatives to Musk's Twitter.

The founder of Twitter rival Mastodon said that Elon Musk's "erratic" leadership style showed "incompetence."

"Frankly, I'm not a fan of it," Eugen Rochko told BBC Newsnight on Friday.

The 29-year-old German programmer designed Mastodon as a decentralized alternative to Twitter in 2016. The platform's popularity has surged, with downloads up more than 650% in the 12 days following Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter, according to SensorTower.

Rochko also warned that Twitter "has a real chance of actually disappearing" under Elon Musk.

He said: "It takes a lot to run a social media platform ... that deals with real-time data, and losing most of your engineers is not a good thing."

A week after Musk's takeover he axed half Twitter's staff. More than half of the remaining employees — including many engineers — resigned this week, after Musk told them to commit to his "extremely hardcore" vision for the company or resign.

Twitter stood a 1 in 2 chance of suffering a major outage during the 29-day soccer World Cup that starts in Qatar on Sunday, according to a former staffer who spoke anonymously to The Observer newspaper in the UK. He had knowledge of how the site responded to major events which drove large amounts of traffic, per the report.

Rochko's Mastodon operates similarly to Twitter. Users can follow each other and share posts known as "toots."

But unlike Twitter, Mastodon's software is entirely open-source and decentralized, meaning there is no single server or company in charge of operating the platform.

Rochko told Newsnight he created Mastodon precisely because he recognised the importance of Twitter as a tool for global communication.

"I felt that it being in the hands of a single company was a big risk, because companies can go bankrupt, they can shut down, they can pivot to a different idea together — or they can get bought out by controversial billionaires."

In Rochko's view, something so "crucial to internet infrastructure" should be "akin to a public utility."

Twitter, Musk and Rochko did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.

Read the original article on Business Insider