Jack Dorsey debuts decentralized Twitter alternative 'Bluesky'
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey left the social media company last year to work on a decentralized social media platform. Called BlueSky, the new social media platform was opened to limited testers in October last year and has recently made it to Apple's App Store, Tech Crunch reported first.
The concept of a decentralized social media platform is no longer novel. In the wake of Twitter's acquisition by Elon Musk, decentralized platforms like Mastodon got a fillip. However, Musk's single-handed decision to ban users on Twitter is what makes decentralized platforms the need of the hour. Dorsey believes that too much power is concentrated in the hands of content moderators of major platforms, and that needs to be given back to the users themselves.
Bluesky looks and acts, much like Twitter
From the screenshots shared by Tech Crunch and those available on the App Store, BlueSky does not appear to be very different from Twitter. After creating an account, users can choose a username and a display name and have a short bio that will be displayed below the two.
Users can post images or write posts using up to 256 characters using the plus button at the bottom of the page. The Home Feed consists of two tabs, one displaying posts from people you follow and another displaying posts and replies.
It is under the hood where the social network differs and uses an open-source protocol called Authenticated Transfer Protocol or AT Protocol. Bluesky describes it as a "federated social network" with multiple separate networks within a single hub. The protocol offers users account portability and interoperability, along with performance.
Currently, access to the platform is 'invite-only', and the availability on the App Store could mean that the company is looking to open it up to general users as well. However, the real question is why someone would want to move to a Twitter-like app. Those who desired to move away from Twitter Musk's acquisition, perhaps, have already done so by joining Mastodon, which is also a decentralized social media platform.
Interestingly, Mastodon's protocol, called ActivityPub protocol, is not only a recommended W3C standard but has also been adopted by other platforms such as Flipboard. Medium and Tumblr offer their services.
How will a Twitter-look alike, powered by an open-source protocol, which Twitter plans to do, fit into this complex social media jungle remains to be seen.