Mastodon is a federated social network, administrated as a decentralized federation of servers running open source software. Users belong to a single Mastodon server, known as an "instance", where they post short messages for others to read, subject to the privacy settings of the user and instance. Messages can range from private to the user, private to the user's followers, public on a specific instance, public across the federated Mastodon network, and directly between users. The service seeks to distinguish itself from Other Social network through its orientation towards small communities and community-based, rather than top-down, moderation.
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