As some celebrities and high-profile users began to publicly exit Twitter to protest Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover, Mastodon emerged as the first oasis. But frustrations with its complexity have created an opening for another upstart social media platform to gain traction: the news-focused, still-in-beta Post.
Mastodon got a user boost in the eight days following the Musk takeover, adding more than 325,000 App Store and Google Play installs worldwide and now boasting more than 4.5 million users. But the Mastodon hype hit a plateau as newbies struggled to navigate the complex multi-server platform and connect with the same users they engaged on Twitter.
Now along comes Post, a platform that hopes to capture Twitter’s news-focused element with a “clean interface.” Post is so far only in beta, and has not disclosed its current user numbers, but says its waitlist is now over 125,000 people, according to Axios.
Both Post and Mastodon have a mountain to climb to begin to truly rival Twitter, which reported more than 230 million monetizable daily users in the second quarter. Musk has reported usage upticks on multiple occasions as the now-gutted company scrambles to keep the lights on – which they’ve done so far without interruption.
But even in its testing stage, Post has attracted the attention of journalists and news-hounds of all kinds – the very audience that it hopes to serve, monetize and help make money for themselves: Part of Post’s plan is to use micropayments (a feature not yet available on Twitter) to monetize news articles and reward high-engagement users.
Here’s everything you need to know about Post.
What is Post?
Founded by former Waze CEO Noam Bardin earlier this year, Post seeks to build a melting pot of multiple perspectives and news that inspires “meaningful discussions with friends, strangers, experts and leaders.”
“Remember when social media was fun, introduced you to big ideas and cool people, and actually made you smarter?” the website’s description reads. “Remember when it didn’t waste your time and make you angry or sad? When you could disagree with someone without being threatened or insulted? We want to bring that back with Post.”
Additionally, Post introduces a relatively new feature that enables users to buy individual articles from as-yet-unnamed premium news providers. Post has not disclosed how it intends to distribute those micropayments.
Like Twitter, users can comment, like, share and repost content on their account, though it might take a bit to access the platform: Currently launched in beta for select users, Post is only accepting wait-list sign-ups, and its interface and feed is not yet visible to non-members.
So far the only example is the post.news sign-up page, where they ask for personal information including your Twitter handle, LinkedIn account and a brief description of yourself to join the waitlist. People old enough to remember chain-letters will appreciate the only way to “cut the line and get early access”: by referring five people who use your unique link to sign up for Post.
“We are just getting started so we are missing many features, working through bugs, and just beginning to deliver our vision,” the website reads. “Please be patient with us and help us build a kinder, more interesting place that represents our better selves.”
How is it different from Twitter?
Post allows users to write to any length, a contrast from Twitter’s limit of 280 characters.
It will offer “individual articles from premium news providers so you can access multiple perspectives, not just the the ones you’re subscribed to,” as Post put it.
It will also allow users to “tip creators of engaging content to help them create more of it, via integrated micro-payments.”
Aside from that, Post has many of the same features as most modern social media platforms, as users can like, re-post, comment, etc. Though Musk has talked about a money-transfer element for Twitter, one has yet to materialize, and timeline for those plans has not been made clear.
What is Post’s approach to content moderation and censorship?
While Musk is still sussing out Twitter’s content moderation plans — most recently telling staffers he has the final say over content and slashing moderation jobs amid massive layoffs — Post’s communications are at least rooted in a guiding principle:
“We believe that all humans are created equal, endowed with unalienable rights that include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, regardless of their gender, religion, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, net worth, or beliefs,” Bardin writes. “If you do not agree with this principle, Post is not for you.”
He adds that Post is designed to give the voice back to a “sidelined majority; there are enough platforms for extremists, and we cannot relinquish the town square to them.”
Exactly how Post aims to go about that remains to be seen, though Bardin suggests they will take a community-based approach to monitoring the halls.
“We believe in freedom of speech and will oppose any government’s attempt to censor speech on our platform,” the site reads. “However, we have rules, which we plan to rigorously enforce via content moderation, with the help of our community.”