Bluesky Allows All Users To Run Their Own Servers

Following its public launch, decentralized microblogging app Bluesky is allowing any user to run their own server on the platform's network, a concept referred to as federation.

By opening up federation, Bluesky users will now have the ability to host their own account, their own data and create their own rules and guidelines surrounding content and membership.

Funded by ex-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and run by software engineer Jay Graber, Bluesky operates on the idea that social-media users should be able to curate their own specific experiences separate from the influence of algorithms and moderation settings, which users can also set themselves.

During Super Bowl LVIII, Bluesky gave users the option to view the game's highlights without any mention of pop megastar Taylor Swift, showcasing the endless possibilities users will find on Bluesky's decentralized protocol. The AT Protocol aims to give users and developers an added layer of transparency into how the platform is being created.

Two weeks after leaving a private beta mode and opening to public use, the platform amassed millions of new users, now up to about 5 million registered users. With federation, Bluesky will have a better chance at competing against decentralized rival app Mastodon and, eventually, Meta’s app Threads, which is preparing to join the ActivityPub protocol sometime soon.

In the near future, federation could prove to be a popular option for social media users who want to utilize niche communities or who desire more control over their personal data. Bluesky is the only decentralized platform currently using the AT Protocol, which could limit future possibilities for interoperability between platforms –– a goal for Threads and Mastodon.

Bluesky says it differs from Mastodon in other ways as well, including custom feeds and composable moderation -- which means moderation options exist in the hands of each individual user rather than being tied to a specific server.

So regardless of how server operators run their communities, users can set their own moderation preferences in order to have the ideal experience for them.

“There are some guardrails in place to ensure we can keep the network running smoothly for everyone in the ecosystem,” Bluesky said in a blog post. “After this initial phase, we'll open up federation to people looking to run larger servers with many users.”

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