Twitter Spin-off Bluesky Opens Itself To General Public

One of the social media platforms widely considered to be a natural successor to Twitter, has opened up to the general public.

Bluesky in a blog post confirmed that it has emerged from its invite-only phase that allowed it “to manage growth while it built features like moderation tooling, custom feeds and more”, and said it is now “ready for anyone to join.”

Bluesky is backed by former Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey, and it started life back in 2019 as an initiative within Twitter to develop what was described as a “decentralised social network protocol”, now known as the AT Protocol.

Bluesky.
Image credit Bluesky

Invite-only

Bluesky was spun out of Twitter and in 2021 hired its first employees, and in that same year was incorporated as an independent firm.

Bluesky is often referred to as a Twitter clone, and the iOS app was officially made available in February 2023 on the Apple App Store.

However it was only available as a private beta, meaning it could only be downloaded by people who had been invited to use it.

Then in April 2023 the Android version of Bluesky was also made available for download as a private beta on the Google Play Store.

By July 2023, Bluesky had surpassed one million downloads – a surprising figure considering it was still invite-only.

As of January 2024, Bluesky had over three million invite-only users.

Download now

Now on Tuesday 6 February 2024, Bluesky confirmed the invite-only option has been dropped and it is now open to all public registrations.

“Bluesky is building an open social network where anyone can contribute, while still providing an easy-to-use experience for users,” the firm wrote in the blog post. “For the past year, we used invite codes to help us manage growth while we built features like moderation tooling, custom feeds, and more. Now, we’re ready for anyone to join.”

So what makes Bluesky different from Twitter, now known as X under the controversial ownership of Elon Musk?

Well Bluesky allows anyone to subscribe to, or make their own feeds, so that the user only sees what they choose to see, and are not forced by a social media algorithm to view content they don’t actually wish to read about or have any interest in.

In addition, the user is given the choice to stack additional layers of content moderation – a feature that is notably different from Elon Musk’s X, after he removed most of Twitter’s content moderation teams when he sacked 80 percent of Twitter’s staff.

Interested people can check out Bluesky’s FAQ here, to see how it operates.

The firm also confirmed it is hiring, which may be of interest to former and indeed current employees at Twitter/X.

It is understood that Bluesky currently has just under 40 full-time staff, about half of whom work on moderation and user support.

Other platforms

Bluesky is not alone in hoping to provide an alternative to disillusioned Twitter users.

Meta Platforms officially launched its Threads app in July 2023, which had been built by the Instagram team.

Threads. Image credit: Meta Platforms

And the decentralised social network Mastodon Social also touts itself as an alternative social network to Twitter.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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