After over a year as an exclusive, invite-only social media platform, Bluesky is now open to the public, so anyone can join without the need for a once-coveted invite code.
In a BlogBluesky said requiring invite codes helped Bluesky “manage growth” while building features that allow users to control the content they see on the social platform.
When Bluesky debuted, many considered him a potential Twitter killer, but limited access to Bluesky may have weakened the momentum. As of January 2024, Bluesky has over 3 million users. This is significantly less than X (formerly Twitter), which is currently estimated to have over 400 million users worldwide.
But Bluesky CEO Jay Graber wrote in a Blog last April, the application needed time because its goal was to constitute a new type of social network built on its own decentralized protocol, AT Protocol. This technology allows users to freely transfer their social media accounts to different social platforms, including their followers, rather than being locked into siled experiences on a “one company” owned platform like Meta's Threads.
Perhaps more importantly, the team needed time to develop content moderation features before opening Bluesky to the general public in order to “prioritize user safety from the start.”
Bluesky plans to take a three-pronged approach to content moderation. The first layer is automated filtering that removes illegal and harmful content such as child pornography. Beyond that, Bluesky will soon offer users additional layers of protection, including community labels and options for administrators running servers to filter content manually.
The tagging services will be rolled out “in the coming weeks,” the blog says. These labels will allow individuals or organizations to manage their own moderation services, such as a trusted fact-checking organization. Users who trust these sources can subscribe to labeling services that filter or appropriately label different types of content, such as “spam” or “NSFW.”
“Human-generated label sets can be thought of as something similar to shared mute/block lists”, Bluesky explain Last year.
Bluesky is currently recruiting partners for labeling services and did not immediately respond to Ars' request for comment on initial partnerships already formed.
It seems Bluesky is hoping to attract new users while introducing some of its flashier features. Over the next month, Bluesky will also “roll out an early experimental version of 'federation,' or the feature that makes the network so open and customizable,” the blog says. The sales pitch is simple:
On Bluesky, you'll have the freedom to choose (and the right to leave) instead of being subject to the whims of private companies or black box algorithms. And wherever you go, your friends and relations can accompany you.
Developers interested in experimenting with the first version of the AT protocol can get started test self-hosted servers now.
In addition to allowing users to customize content moderation, Bluesky also offers ways to personalize feeds. Anyone joining the group will by default only see posts from users they follow, but they can also set up filters to discover content they like without relying on a company's algorithm to know what's up to them. 'interested.
Bluesky users who have used invite codes over the past year have joked about their uselessness, with some referring to themselves as former users. Appearing to reference Twitter's once-coveted blue checks, one Bluesky user responding to a job de Graber joked, “When will everyone's invite-only get their Bluesky Elder profile badge?”