Stephen Fry has announced he is ditching Twitter as he joins a growing list of celebrities to abandon the site following Elon Musk’s controversial $44bn takeover.
The former QI host, 65, announced his departure to his 12.5million followers on Wednesday, posting a picture of Scrabble letters spelling out ‘Goodbye’.
The Jeeves and Wooster star is set to join new social networking app Mostodon, following in the footsteps of US comedian Kathy Griffin – who was banned from Twitter for impersonating billionaire Musk.
It comes after Whoopi Goldberg, 66, also closed her account on Monday following a monologue on the US talk show The View, in which said the social media platform was a ‘mess’.
Her departure came hours after supermodel Gigi Hadid deactivated her profile and moaned Twitter had become ‘more of a cesspool of hate & bigotry’.
A string of other high-profile, and left-leaning, figures have also said they’ll quit after Tesla owner Musk completed his chaotic buyout of the platform last month and declared himself ‘Chief Twit’.
A ‘brutal’ clearing out ensued which saw thousands of jobs culled, including many in the UK and Ireland, which spectators compared to the infamous Red Wedding massacre scene from Game of Thrones.
But several who’ve announced their departures from Twitter still have live accounts on the site, including Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles and Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes.
And it is not the first time that Fry has threatened to leave Twitter, declaring ‘the fun is over’ in 2016, following backlash over comments he made about a costume designer.
Stephen Fry (pictured) has announced he is ditching Twitter as he joins a growing list of celebrities to abandon the site amid Elon Musk’s controversial $44bn takeover
A string of other high-profile, and left-leaning, figures have also said they’ll quit after Tesla owner Musk (pictured) completed his chaotic buyout of the platform last month and declared himself ‘Chief Twit’
Former QI host Fry, 65, announced his departure to his 12.5million followers on Wednesday, posting a picture of Scrabble letters spelling out ‘Goodbye’ (pictured)
Goldberg deactivated her account hours after a monologue on The View complained Twitter was a ‘mess’, making her the latest woke celeb to quit the platform since Elon Musk took over
What is Mastodon? The social networking site which has seen its members surge following Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover
Stephen Fry’s Mostodon page
Mastodon claims to offer ‘a vision of social media that cannot be bought and owned by any billionaire’ – a pointed dig at Twitter owner Elon Musk, who is the richest person on the planet with a net worth of more than $210billion (£180billion).
It’s a free, open-source platform that has a user interface and microblogging features similar to Twitter, although how it works is more akin to email.
Mastodon is not a single website like Twitter. It is a network of thousands of sites, called ‘servers’ (also known as ‘instances’) – independent communities that can set up their own guidelines.
Mastodon is decentralised, meaning there is no single person, company or sever running it, so it is seen by fans as a more democratic alternative.
It was launched in March 2016 by a young German software developer called Eugen Rochko (born 1993), who wanted to give users more control over what they see and how content is moderated.
‘I was a Twitter user for a long time, and I really like the format,’ Rochko told Esquire in 2018.
‘I wanted to continue using the same format, but I wanted it to be intimate and for other people to have more control.’
Mastodon posts each have a 500 character limit – more than Twitter’s 280 character limit – and are called ‘toots’ rather than ‘tweets’ like they’re known on Twitter.
But just like on Twitter, Mastodon users can make profiles, follow other users and post messages, images or videos.
Mastodon users can also favourite other people’s toots and repost them on their profile (known as ‘boosting’ rather than retweeting).
Twitter seems to be full of posts from renowned users about how they’ve just set up their Mastodon account.
One of whom is American comedian Kathy Griffin, who was suspended from Twitter after impersonating new CEO Elon Musk.
On Mastodon, Griffin said Musk was ‘melting down on Twitter because of me’, calling him a ‘drama queen’.
Also recently joined is Bob Hardy, bass player for Scottish band Franz Ferdinand, and American actor and comedian Michael Ian Black.
However Mastodon is not a single website like Twitter is.
Instead, Mastodon is a network of thousands of sites, known as ‘servers’ or instances.
According to Mastodon, if it were a single website like Twitter, ‘it would be doomed to recreate all that you hate about the social media platforms you’re trying to leave’.
The Blackadder star branded the site a ‘stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous’ after he made a joke about his friend Jenny Beavan after presenting her award for Best Costume Design for her work on Mad Max.
‘Only one of the great cinematic costume designers would come to an awards ceremony dressed as a bag lady,’ he said as she left the stage, which he later said was a ‘harmless joke’ that Ms Beavan herself had no issue with.
But he deactivated his account amid backlash, saying: ‘It’s quite simple really: the room had started to smell. Really quite bad.
‘Now the pool is stagnant. It is frothy with scum, clogged with weeds and littered with broken glass, sharp rocks and slimy rubbish.
‘If you don’t watch yourself, with every move you’ll end up being gashed, broken, bruised or contused.
‘To leave that metaphor, let us grieve at what Twitter has become.
‘A stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous who love to second-guess, to leap to conclusions and be offended – worse, to be offended on behalf of others they do not even know.
‘It’s as nasty and unwholesome a characteristic as can be imagined.
‘It doesn’t matter whether they think they’re defending women, men, transgender people, Muslims, humanists … the ghastliness is absolutely the same.’
Fry, however, rejoined the site within six months.
In his latest departure, he vowed to join Mastodon, another social media network which has seen a surge in new users since Musk bought Twitter.
A spokesman told the Sun: ‘Stephen Fry thought the time was right to move on.’
Many conservative commentators across the pond have welcomed Musk’s takeover after the billionaire said he’d maintain free speech on the platform, following claims right-wing voices were previously silenced or shut down.
Announcing her decision, Goldberg said on The View: ‘I’m going to get out, and if it settles down and I feel more comfortable, maybe I’ll come back.
‘But as of tonight, I’m done with Twitter.’
She said Twitter had become ‘a mess’ since Musk took over and referred to the suspension of Kathy Griffin for impersonating the Twitter boss.
Goldberg added: ‘I’m getting off. I’m getting off today because I just feel like, you know, it’s so messy.’
Meanwhile Hadid declared her departure on Saturday, posting on Instagram: ‘For a long time, but especially with its new leadership, it’s becoming more and more of a cesspool of hate & bigotry, and its [sic] not a place I want to be apart of.’
In a post on October 30, three days after the Musk era began, Bareilles wrote: ‘Welp. It’s been fun Twitter. I’m out.
‘See you on other platforms, peeps. Sorry, this one’s just not for me.’
Rhimes announced she was quitting on October 29, but her account also remained live on Monday afternoon.
‘Not hanging around for whatever Elon has planned. Bye,’ she said.
Toni Braxton, the seven-time Grammy winner, also still has a presence on the site despite leaving.
Just a day after Musk’s purchase, she wrote: ‘I’m shocked and appalled at some of the ‘free speech’ I’ve seen on this platform since its acquisition.
‘Hate speech under the veil of ‘free speech’ is unacceptable; therefore I am choosing to stay off Twitter as it is no longer a safe space for myself, my sons and other POC.’