The Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information

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Quick access to the Mastodon network

Date 2022.04.26

What is Mastodon? Who operates the network? How and where do I create an account? How do I access the account? We explain how you can get in quickly and start tooting, and we answer the most important introductory questions.

Source: Mastodon

As operator of its own Mastodon instance for public authorities, the BfDI is pleased about the attention that is currently being given to the so-called fediverse. The fediverse is a network of many different, interconnected platforms. These also offer, for example, video streaming (PeerTube) or image sharing (Pixelfed).

Mastodon is a microblogging service that does not differ in basic functions from the known networks. However, as it is a decentralised network, the entry is somewhat unusual.

1. Search instance and login

There is no central registration for Mastodon. This is done on the individual instances. To participate, you can choose the instance that suits you best. The instances are usually operated by private individuals or by private organisations. The instances differ in size (measured by the accounts) and their terms of use. They often address a region (e.g. instances for a city) or community. The overview pages of Mastodon Instances, Fediverse Observer, or Content Nation help you to find the most suitable instance for you among a wide range of instances.

2. Install the app

After logging in to an instance, you can use Mastodon just like any other social network. You can follow accounts, toot yourself or react to toots. This works across all instances. You can simply use Mastodon via your browser.

For easier use, however, it is recommended to install a client on the end device. The website of the Mastodon project provides a quick overview.

3. Get started

Now you can get started and explore the fediverse. You are welcome to visit the BfDI account. At our instance you will find other public authorities that you can follow.