While Threads doesn’t prioritize politics, Bluesky CEO touts personalized feeds and user choice on social media


Meta is in hot water after announcing plans to remove the policy of its recommendations on Instagram and Threads, its new Twitter-like app for text posts. This leaves a window of opportunity for the Bluesky startupwhose CEO Jay Graber recently explained that Meta’s move is emblematic of the type of problems that could arise when you have “an algorithm run by a single company” and how Bluesky’s application is different.

“It’s kind of a black box, the company can do whatever it wants and users don’t really have a choice,” Graber said in response to a question about Meta’s political censorship during a interview on the social network. Techmeme Ride Home Podcast. “The goal of integrating algorithmic choice initially with Bluesky was to allow you to always choose the type of feed you will get. You can control your scroll,” she added.

On Bluesky, Graber said, users can choose to have a highly political social experience, following personalized politically themed feeds and trending topics, or they can choose to filter out politics altogether.

“Two people using the same Bluesky app could – one have a very comfortable and calm experience, no politics, just seeing their friends’ posts and maybe photos of moss and cats,” Graber suggested. “And then someone else could follow the news stories, the Super Bowl speech, the politics, everything that’s going on.”

Or, as Graber herself does, they could switch between different modes, depending on what they wanted to see at that moment.

Unlike centralized platforms, like Facebook, Instagram and Threads operated by Meta, or even X (formerly Twitter) operated by Elon Musk, Bluesky presents a different approach to social media. It’s more like Twitter’s open source competitor Mastodonin that it will also offer a decentralized social networking service, albeit powered by a different network protocol – the AT protocol, instead of ActivityPub, which Mastodon integrates with.

Although Threads too, plans to integrate ActivityPub, Meta’s moderation decisions will ultimately apply to everyone who uses Threads, even if it becomes a node on the larger federated network that includes Mastodon and other ActivityPub-powered apps. And to over 130 million monthly active users from the fourth quarter of Meta, The sons would outshine the rest of Mastodonwhich currently has around 1 million monthly active users, its website says.

Bluesky, meanwhile, is already bigger than Mastodon, having nearly doubled its user base since opening its doors to the public last week. The application today approaches 5 million users (it’s currently at 4.86 million) and is working to enable federation later this month, the company said earlier.

But its biggest appeal for users may not be the protocols it uses for social networking, but the ease with which users can personalize their experience – something that’s more lacking in Mastodon, which has struggled to be friendly. Until its release in September, for example, Mastodon users couldn’t even search for posts; they had to rely on hashtags.

Bluesky also aims to offer hashtags, Graber said. “It’s actually on the way,” she said in the interview, referring to the introduction of hashtags.

But on Bluesky, hashtags won’t just be a way to surface terms and trends; they can also power personalized feeds, the CEO noted. Using Bluesky’s API, developers have created custom tools, like SkyFeedwhich allows anyone, even non-developers, to create their own flows using a graphical user interface.

“You can start creating custom feeds that do things – list-based, hashtag-based, word-based, regular expression-based, machine learning-based,” Graber said. “And these tools are getting better and better and creating more options for people who want to be creative, who have a sense of flow, but who don’t know how to code.”

As election season approaches, the promise of personalized social media could appeal to a cohort of users who want an alternative to Twitter – X goes in a different direction involving payments, purchases, and creator content – but where the rules are not dictated by a single person, or, in the case of Metacreated in fear of punishment by legislators and regulators.


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