Ever since Elon Musk became CEO of Twitter last October, users have expressed concern over the changes to the platform. With changing verification rules and security, prioritization of Twitter Blue users, and a multitude of changes to Twitter’s layout, many have started to look for other platforms. There were a few contenders, such as the new Hive app, or even Tumblr, but none have reached the hype of Twitter.
Luckily, a new social media platform has surfaced: Bluesky.
Ironically, Bluesky is actually owned by the former CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, and the app looks very similar to Twitter itself. However, Bluesky prides itself on one thing that sets itself apart from other social media platforms: algorithms.
Instead of having an algorithm pick up what a user likes from their interactions, and showing them posts related to these (as seen in a “For You” page on Twitter or TikTok), Bluesky aims to give users control over what they see on the app. The platform doesn’t rely on AI, but it relies on tags. Users are able to tag their posts and accounts with different labels, and follow (or block) that specific label to cater to what they want to interact with.
Currently, the app is invite-only as a beta test. It has over 72,000 users already, and a wait list of 1.9 million email addresses hoping to join, according to Vanity Fair. For the users that have managed to join the app, it’s been a chill place to hangout away from the constant discourse and negativity of Twitter.
Though, there are some rising concerns about Bluesky and whether or not it can continue as a social safe haven. People fear that it doesn’t have as secure moderation as they hoped. The app is run by only a nine-person team, which causes some worries as to how much the small team will be able to keep up with. And especially with more and more people joining, there is an increased need for security.
But this isn’t exactly what’s being seen. There was one incident in which Bluesky users called for the removal of an account that was reportedly spreading transphobic hate and harassing women. Rather than removing the account, Bluesky told users to block the individual. The account has since been deleted, but it’s unknown whether or not the Bluesky moderation team had anything to do with this removal.
After this incident, one user said, “A lot of folks are scared/worried here, especially after years of Twitter not really dealing with this stuff well. Don’t be Twitter, be better.”
So, Bluesky isn’t Twitter, but it’s not perfect, either. There’s a lot of discussion on whether or not Bluesky will try to learn from its predecessor social media platform, or whether it will fall to the same fate.
Yoel Roth, former head of trust and safety at Twitter said, “One of the promises of federated platforms like Bluesky is that it can give people more choices about what goes and what doesn’t. But you still have to draw that line somewhere.”
Ultimately, according to Roth, it’s a battle between moderation and freedom for users to share what they want, that Bluesky will have to face.
The solution? Listening to its users. Bluesky has been one of few social media platforms, likely possible due to its small size, that has actively attempted to listen to user feedback and ways they can improve. Its protocol engineer, Paul Frazee, has done livestreams in which he listens to user’s experiences and talks about plans for the app. In this way, Bluesky relies on its users, and it’s what will break or make the app.
So what do you think? If you get an invite, are you willing to give Bluesky a try?
By Caileigh Winslade, Senior, ChiArts
Instagram: @fairytwist / Twitter: @silverrebi
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