How to Move from Mastodon to Firefish

Diving into a new platform

Mastodon is a great microblogging platform, but maybe you want to try something new. Firefish made a splash recently, and a lot of people are talking about it. If you’ve played with it for a while and want to officially take the plunge, here’s some tips on moving from your Mastodon Instance to a Firefish one.

Account Migration

Register a New Account

The first thing you need to do is to find a new place for your account to live. The official Firefish website has a server listing, with each instance following the project’s Server Guidelines.

We highly recommend doing a quality of life check on whatever instance you join. This boils down to a few key considerations:

  • Policies: Does the instance have some kind of Code of Conduct or Terms of Service?
  • Drama: What kind of things do members of the community post? How do they treat others?
  • Scale: What kind of operation is this? Is it a big server, with lots of people? Is it a one-person server?
  • Reputation: What do people who know about the instance have to say about it?

A good starting point to check for this information is on a server’s About page. Bonus points if they have a Terms of Service and Admin page. These generally set expectations up front.

Point New Account at Old Account

Now that you’ve created your account, it’s time to set up the initial import. This will move over your Followers collection to the new account automatically. Go to Settings > Other Settings > Migration, and scroll down to the Move to this account from an older account pane.

Fill in your Mastodon user handle like in the example above, and click Save.

Direct Old Account to New Account

This is the other half of the initial import. You need to head back over to Mastodon, and go to Preferences > Account > Account Settings. Scroll down to Move to a Different Account, and enter your new Firefish user handle. You’ll also need to enter your current Mastodon password.

Data Migration

One really nice Firefish feature is that, in addition to your followers, you can also move your data over with you. You can import old posts, people you were following, lists of people, and muted / blocked users. As of the current release of Firefish, you’re not able to import Bookmarks, but maybe that will change in the near future.

The Data Export page in Mastodon. Pretty much everything you need to download involve these CSV files.

All data imports can be performed on your Firefish server at Settings > Other Settings > Import / Export Data, but you’ll need to grab that data from Mastodon at Preferences > Import and Export > Data Export.

Import Old Posts

One really cool thing that Firefish does is that it lets you import all of your old status updates from Mastodon, Pleroma, or Akkoma. as well as other Misskey systems. The project is also planning to support post import from Twitter.

One thing to be aware of: the import is not magically moving your old posts from your old account. Instead, it’s recreating them from scratch. Comments, likes, and responses from other people won’t show up in these new statuses on Firefish, because ActivityPub platforms don’t support that kind of feature yet.

Note: When you go to import posts, upload the whole .zip archive! Don’t just give the importer outbox.json, otherwise your media attachments will get skipped!

Import Follows

When I initially tried to migrate to Firefish, I found that my followers came automatically, but the list of accounts I was following wasn’t there. The good news is that this a really easy fix – just download the CSV of Follows from your Mastodon account, and import it.

If you’re following a couple thousand people, the process will take a little bit of time. Your timeline might refresh a lot to rebuild itself. I generally recommend taking a break while waiting for this process to finish.

Import Lists

Lists are a lesser-used feature on Mastodon, but they can be an incredibly useful way to filter your timeline to just a handful of accounts. Thankfully, you can import those over to Firefish as well.

After your lists have been imported, you can access them from the top nav bar.

If you want to edit entries in the list, click the Gear icon, and feel free to make changes.

Import Mutes / Blocks

The process here is basically the same as everything else. You’ll need to throw in corresponding CSV files for these, and your data will get updated accordingly.

If you ever need to review these lists, you can find them under Settings > Other Settings > Mutes and Blocks

What’s Different?

This is a topic that’s worthy of an article in itself, which we hope to get out sometime soon. That being said, there are a number of things about Firefish that are very different from Mastodon.

Emoji Reactions

You can respond to any post that comes up with any emoji you like, including custom ones.

Widgets / Deck Mode

Firefish is based on MissKey, which has a heavy emphasis on customization. You can totally transform the interface, and rearrange the widgets and columns to your heart’s content.


You know how Mastodon can let you filter stuff out of your timeline? Antennas let you filter your timeline to a set of keywords and accounts, so that you can focus on them.


Clips are basically bookmark collections. You can put your favorite memes in a Clip. Or, you can put important announcements from your favorite projects, or fun memories that you want an easy link to.


Channels are basically groups for your local instance. They don’t federate (yet), but they provide a nifty way to share a love for niche topics.

These are just a few of the things that are different about Firefish! Keep an eye out for our impending review this coming week!

Sean Tilley

Sean Tilley has been a part of the federated social web for over 15+ years, starting with his experiences with back in 2008. Sean was involved with the Diaspora project as a Community Manager from 2011 to 2013, and helped the project move to a self-governed model. Since then, Sean has continued to study, discuss, and document the evolution of the space and the new platforms that have risen within it.


  1. Lars says:


    when i download my archive from Mastodon it is an tar.gz Archive. and the Size is too big.

    1. Hey Lars,
      I had the same issue when trying to move from my Mastodon instance. Talk to your instance admins.
      It is an issue with your instance’s CDN configuration.
      Hope that helps!

  2. David says:

    Thank you for your article. Can I translate it into Chinese and share it with others? I will include the original author and the original link.

  3. thank you for this useful article. can i add this link into my misskey guide?
    actually, we can now move our misskey accounts by this function either. and, after this move, the older account will be totally closed or deleted, so user can not log in the older account anymore. but, things are different in mastodon. when you did a “mastodon to mastodon” move, your older account will not be deleted, and you can re-open it in any time as your wish. I’d like to know why there is such a difference.

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