If you have been watching the news, you likely heard of the CEO of Twitter mentioning Bluesky, a new social media program he is building and the Twitter company is backing. But what is Bluesky? Is it really a solution to all the problems plaguing social media? Read on to find out!
What is Bluesky?
The Bluesky project is an opensource social media project that is looking to connect the current (and any future) social media platforms available. This means that whether you have an account on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you would be able to interact with all the other users on the platform.
Bluesky will be built with opensource software, meaning that no one company would own it. The Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, plans to hire a team of 5 coders to make it possible. These 5 coders would build the platform, while also creating algorithms which would control what users saw when they used the platforms.
These algorithms would be pre-programed to direct users away from polarizing content and to hide any content which is considered hate speech. This would take the burden of content moderation away from the individual social media platforms themselves and instead place it on the program.
Is Bluesky Part of Twitter?
While many refer to Bluesky as an offshoot of Twitter, and Twitter is funding the project, Jack Dorsey’s idea is to make a program that will eventually run itself. And because it will be opensource, anyone will be able to use it or integrate their social media platform on it.
When Did Bluesky Launch?
Technically, Bluesky was developed by Jack Dorsey in 2019, but it took some time to get the ball rolling on the project. As of May 2022, Bluesky has released their protocol to the public for testing on GitHub as well as asked for volunteers to sign up for the Beta version. So far, 30,000 people have signed up to give the platform a whirl.
Is Bluesky a Good Idea?
While it is a good idea to have a social media platform that allows all other social media platforms to integrate, Bluesky is not a project of free individuals of the future.
Bluesky is built on the idea that the burden of censorship will no longer fall on the platforms individually, but rather on a single algorithm. Hate speech is bad, yes, but censorship is worse. Imagine a world where every social media platform is hooked up to Bluesky and you say one thing, one time, that is deemed by the algorithm to be hate speech. Suddenly, you will find that no one sees your page or posts ever again on any platform . Bluesky is cancel culture on crack.
Instead of just being cancelled on one platform, you could find yourself cancelled on every platform all at once — just from a single post.
Not only that, but Facebook, and other large platforms which are the kings of data mining are unlikely to make their platforms interact with Bluesky, and since Facebook is the largest social media platform ever with 2 billion daily users, a huge portion of people will likely never use Bluesky. It would be much better if Bluesky was built without the “stopping hate speech” (censorship) in mind, because just being opensource isn’t enough.
What we do like about Bluesky is that it will allow social media platforms to interact and give users back control of their data — both powerful steps in the world of internet privacy. The problem is, many people may think of Bluesky as a platform where free speech reigns, but that isn’t true. While you can post whatever you like on the platform, your content could be censored to where only you can see it if the algorithm doesn’t like it.
Additionally, the whole idea of opensource software is that anyone can go in and check the code. But for some reason we are also having a hard time believing that Twitter will post the code for these algorithms as then it will be possible to game the algorithm to get your post noticed more easily. Whether Jack Dorsey has realized this or not has not been mentioned, but we suspect something will be done to prevent “going viral” from becoming just “gaming the algorithm” but we will see as the platform develops.
Censorship on Facebook
Twitter may be distracting users when it comes to the full censored implications of their platforms, but Facebook has become very open about theirs. As of October 2022, not only is it possible to get restricted or blocked from the popular platform for using “hate speech” but you can also be banned from using reactions.
Yes, those little smileys you use to react to posts. If you use them in a method that is deemed “inappropriate” by Facebook moderators, you can lose your access to them. What deems their use as “inappropriate” has yet to be specified, but we can bet it has something to do with the normal censorship mainly against those who are politically right wing.
Are There Social Media Platforms Without Censorship?
So, since Bluesky is simply another censored social media platform, you may be wondering if there is any option out there for you which isn’t censored. We’ve covered this topic fully in our Alternatives to Facebook post, but Mastodon is a social media platform that currently has no algorithms, ads, or censorship.
On Mastodon, if you find someone saying things you don’t like, you are welcome to block them at your own convenience. You can also host a group of like minds and keep others out if you would like, everything is your decision — just as it should be on social media. If you are looking for an alternative to YouTube, Odysee is a good option.
Overall, while Bluesky may be a good idea in terms of interoperability, it is just another form of social media censorship that will leave some accounts in the dark. Not only that, but there is no guarantee that Facebook will join, truly limiting it’s interoperability. Having an open sourced algorithm that can easily be mastered may also prove to be disastrous. Either way, this project is currently in creation and it will be interesting to see the results.