Bluesky, the open-source Twitter alternative, is getting rid of its waiting list and opening up its decentralized platform to everyone. The service, which opened in beta last spring, is currently in a bit of a dead end users, but that number can grow rapidly as potential users don’t need an invitation to join.
It’s a landmark moment for Bluesky, which began as an internal project at Jack Dorsey’s Twitter (Bluesky cut ties with the venture, now known as X, after Elon Musk’s takeover, though Dorsey remains on Bluesky’s board.) The company is part of a growing movement. is part of for According to its proponents, it could overcome many of the shortcomings of centrally controlled platforms like Facebook, X, and TikTok.
“We truly believe that the future of social is and should be open and decentralized,” Bluesky CEO Jay Graber told Engadget. “It’s something we think is good for the general public conversation.”
For those who missed Bluesky’s first last spring, the service is functionally similar to X and Threads. Affectionately referred to as “skeets” by some early users, his posts follow a chronological timeline, although users can follow many others as well. created by fellow users. Soon, the company will take a similar approach to content moderation, allowing third parties to create their own “tagging services” for Bluesky content.
The service is still much smaller than most of its counterparts and still lacks direct messaging functionality. But it was once a haven for high-profile Twitter users and those looking for more vibes and less Elon Musk.
Just as Mastodon and other services in the fediverse are built on the ActivityPub protocol, Bluesky also runs on its own open source standard called the AT Protocol. Currently, the only Bluesky is a service version created by the Bluesky company. But that will change soon, as the company plans to start experimenting with federation, which will allow other developers and groups to create their own instances of Bluesky.
“The protocol is like an API that’s always open,” Graber said. “And that means developer creativity can get kind of wild.”
The world, of course Bluesky looks a lot different after it’s first launched. Meta’s Threads program has expanded users since last summer. The meta has also started making some Threads posts available on Mastodon, a first step towards making it compatible with the rest of the fediverse.
But while Threads does show some support for open-source protocols, that’s not the same as decentralization, Graber argues. “If they integrate with ActivityPub, you’ll still be in a Facebook-owned app with this little window into the wider world, and it won’t be as easy to leave. We hope that the AT Protocol universe allows people to more easily access different applications, different services.”