LEADING Scottish Twitter users have announced that they have signed up for Mastodon in the wake of Elon Musk’s takeover of the platform. 

Some users have been seeking alternative social media services following the tech billionaire's acquisition of Twitter. 

He recently confirmed users who wanted a blue tick by their name to indicate they were verified would need to pay $8 (£7) a month.

Mastodon, which is six years old, says it now has over 655,000 users with over 230,000 having joined in the last week. 

Below is everything you need to know about who has made the switch and what Mastodon is.

Who has signed up?  

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, who has more than 370k Twitter followers, and Scottish singer Iona Fyfe announced they are making the move on Monday. 

Politicians are also making the jump. SNP MP Stewart McDonald announced he had signed up for the platform but said that he would still be using Twitter. 

Writing on his social media, he said: “Made the trip over to Mastodon. I’ll still be on Twitter for the time being – depending on how it all goes down – but I’m now over there and you can follow me at the link below.”

The SNP MP for Airdrie and Shotts Anum Qaisar also said she had signed up for the platform although, like McDonald, would still be using Twitter in the meantime. 

She said: “Made the transition over to Mastodon… I’ll still be using Twitter in the meantime.”

Also making the move is Alyn Smith and Scottish Greens leader Patrick Harvie. Smith said on Twitter: “Surely not! When I saw @davidallengreen was on it I took the plunge, @patrickharvie is there already so it’s looking positive from the start!”

On Saturday, Harvie confirmed he was on the platform, writing: “Dipping a toe in the water over at @patrickharview@mastodon.scot.”

What is Mastodon? 

On the face of things, Mastodon looks like Twitter. Account users write posts (called “toots”) which people can reply to, like and re-post as well as follow each other. 

Here’s how it all works. 

What are the servers? 

The first thing when you do when signing up to the platform is choose a server. These servers are themed, often by country or interest, like social, technology and gaming. 

It doesn’t really matter which one you pick but it gives you a starting point and you are more likely to see posts by people with things you are interested in. 

However, unlike Twitter, Mastodon does not suggest users to follow based on your interests. 

Why does it use servers? 

In simple terms, Mastodon is not one single platform nor is it owned by one person or firm. 

All of the different servers link together, but they are owned by different people and organisations. 

The downside of this is that if the person or organisation running the server decide to abandon it, you lose your account. 

READ MORE: Get ready to return to the bad old days of Twitter under Elon Musk

Mastodon asks server owners to give users three months notice if they decide to close it. 

How is everything moderated? 

At the moment, each individual server has its own moderation rules. Posts can be reported to the server owners. 

Some servers have their own moderation rules while others have none. Certain servers are choosing not to link themselves to ones which are full of bots or hateful posts. 

This means they will not be visible to those on the servers where they are blocked. 

Is it free to use? 

Some of the servers ask for donations, as they don’t get paid, but the site is largely free. 

There are also no ads but there is nothing to stop you writing a post which promotes a specific product or company.

Does Mastodon have an app?

Mastodon does have an app which is available for both iOS and Android devices. 

It can be accessed through the App Store or Google Play.