That’s behind Jack Dorsey’s Twitter alternative

At the end of October 2022, Elon Musk took over Twitter. Since then, Musk’s controversial management decisions have sparked debate. Just as Musk was involved on the platform before the acquisition, he’s doing it now — just behind the scenes. Ever since the tech entrepreneur took over, a few strange things have happened on Twitter. More and more users are deleting their Twitter accounts and moving. Twitter alternatives such as Hive or Mastodon were able to register massive amounts of new downloads. When looking for alternatives, you quickly come across Bluesky.

Bluesky is a decentralized social media platform that looks and works similar to Twitter. Bluesky relies on a decentralized approach and transparency. The project, called the Bluesky Initiative, was originally intended to become part of Twitter. Twitter founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey has long supported the project financially. He is also on the company’s board of directors, according to a tweet from Bluesky. Min the meantime, the social media project has been set up on its own. Since the spring of 2022, it has been completely independent of Twitter.

Since the beginning of 2023, the social media network has been in the Apple App Store accessible. So far, however, you can only get access with an invitation code or a beta invitation from the developers.

How does Bluesky work?

The Bluesky technology is based on the so-called “Authenticated Transfer Protocol’, AT protocol for short. Similar to Eugen Rochko’s Mastodon network, the protocol is intended to ensure the decentralization of the network.

The “federated” network allows servers to communicate with each other. It is not limited to just one location like conventional solutions, writes Bluesky in one blog post. AT uses self-authenticated data to not be dependent on a central host. In contrast to other services such as Twitter, Tiktok or Instagram, users could register via many small servers – just “decentrally”. According to Bluesky, it also dispenses with “data silos”.

The AT protocol makes it possible to transfer accounts to and from other providers without data loss. Because the operators of Bluesky think that a person’s online identity should not belong to companies that are accountable to users.

Bluesky also wants to break with the dictates of the algorithm. Users should be able to decide for themselves which algorithm they want to use to display content. To this end, the AT protocol includes a mode for open algorithms. In addition, the protocol uses an interoperation framework called Lexicon to coordinate a wide range of networked services.

Despite the decentralized approach, the company also announced that it would develop a moderation model called “Speech and Reach”. Moderation is also necessary at Bluesky, according to the creators of the platform. Finally, one is still obliged to remove illegal content due to local laws. The The moderation model should include both the language and the reach level.

Basically, Bluesky is described as a staked out version of Twitter. Because the basic functions of the original can also be found in the alternative. For example, the profile interface is very similar to Twitter’s in design and functionality: profiles have a profile picture, a background, and a description. In addition, follower and followed account numbers are displayed in the profile. Users can create a username and an @ handle. Twitter’s typical feature, the limited number of characters for postings, can also be found at Bluesky. Postings can be up to 256 characters long and contain photos.

Otherwise, all the usual interaction options from other social networks are also available on Bluesky: Posts can be liked, commented on and shared. Other accounts can also be searched, muted, or blocked as usual. Overall, however, Bluesky has so far offered fewer functions than the original. So far it should not be possible to contact users via direct message or to share videos. Since the platform is still in the development phase, this can change at any time.

Although the app can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store, Bluesky, unlike Twitter, is not accessible to everyone. Like the hype app Clubhouse, the network relies on an artificial shortage of accounts that have access. The audio-based social media app Clubhouse triggered a real hype with its concept of live podcasts in 2020. One reason for the success: In the early days, Clubhouse could only be used exclusively via an invitation link.

Bluesky also uses a similar principle: An invitation code is required in order to be able to use the platform. The artificial scarcity works: the invitation codes are in great demand. On Ebay, invite codes for Bluesky are said to fetch hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars.

The exclusivity not only helps poach disappointed Twitterers. The flight from trolls should drive the platform into exclusivity. The barrier that an invitation code is required to use Bluesky should make it difficult for trolls, but also bots and hate speakers to spread on the platform.

How do I get a Bluesky invite?

If you want to be a part of Bluesky and secure one of the coveted Bluesky handles, you have to be invited. When registering on the platform, new users must enter an invitation code. Each user can issue an invitation every two weeks. Without an invitation code, you can initially only access the platform with a beta invitation from the developers. On the site of the network you can still join the waiting list and hope for an invitation to the beta version. It is not yet clear when the app will be open to everyone.

The company says it started with a few hundred beta testers and now has over 50,000 users.

Who is behind Bluesky?

Bluesky was born when Jack Dorsey was CEO of Twitter. In 2019 he introduced Bluesky as an extension of Twitter. At that time, the project was called the Bluesky Initiative.

Because Bluesky was originally intended to be part of Twitter, Twitter founder Dorsey has long supported the project financially. He is also on the company’s board of directors, according to a tweet from Bluesky. Min the meantime, the social media project has been set up on its own. Bluesky has been an independent company since 2021 and will no longer be owned by Twitter funded.

Bluesky’s CEO is the Company website according to software engineer Jay Graber.

Bluesky is incorporated as a Public Benefit Limited Liability Company (PBLLC). This means that the company wants to create a public benefit and must also prove this.

Is Bluesky better than Twitter?

Bluesky is undoubtedly benefiting from the Twitter blue verification tick debacle. Musk clumsily converted this from authentication and rank badges to the Twitter Blue payment model. But Twitter Blue brought one thing above all: discussions about the new CEO Musk and many frustrated Twitter users who are turning away from the platform.

According to observers, in addition to exclusivity, Bluesky has the right drive and the potential to outperform Twitter for another reason. Various users report that there is “early Twitter energy” on the platform. The culture of the community seems to be similar to the old Twitter days. This could make Bluesky the alternative the community has been waiting for.

Another key reason for using Bluesky is the decentralization of the platform. In addition to Bluesky, these also offer other platforms.

What other Twitter alternatives are there?

There isn’t (yet) a Twitter alternative to which everyone is moving. However, besides Bluesky, there are some apps that are very similar to the original. Some even have the edge when it comes to decentralization. Decentralized Twitter alternatives such as Hive or Mastodon were able to register massive amounts of new downloads.

Note: Also t3n is with its own instance at Mastodon.

It sure is no surprise that too Meta involved in the race for the new Twitter. At the beginning of March 2023 it became known that the Facebook parent was working on a Twitter alternative based on the decentralized mastodon protocol Activity Pub, which was to be launched under the Instagram brand. The name of the app has not yet been made public. P92, according to the working title, shouldn’t be. A However, Leak recently showed what Instagram’s Twitter could look like.

We have collected more Twitter alternatives for you in this article on t3n.de:

If the hype continues, Bluesky has the potential to outperform Twitter. But the platform isn’t the only alternative that frustrated Twitterers want to offer a new home. The success of the platform ultimately depends on the community. It’s just building up.

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