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Bluesky opens its network allowing users to run servers

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Photo: Koshiro K / Shutterstock.com

Bluesky, the emerging social media platform, unveiled plans to federate and open up its network, empowering users to host their data. This shift challenges the conventional model where social media companies retain control over users’ data, and the users have little or no say in this matter.

Bluesky aims to decentralise the nature of social media and break the shackles of dependency on a single company for social connectivity.

While the platform acknowledges that self-hosting currently requires technical know-how, the team is developing designs to make it more accessible.

This concept of federation facilitates interconnection between services, allowing users to move between different apps and experiences as they would on the open web. The initial phase of the federation is tailored for self-hosters, with plans to expand to larger servers.

“We think social media should work the same way. When you register on Bluesky, by default, we’ll suggest that Bluesky will store your data. But if you’d like to let another company store it, or even store it yourself, you can do that,” explained the Bluesky team.

The platform assures users that the transition to self-hosting will not impact their experience. Even if you choose to run your own server, the Bluesky team promises you a familiar interface.

Photo: mundissima / Shutterstock.com
Bluesky differs from Mastodon and other federated social media networks.| Photo: mundissima / Shutterstock.com

“If you don’t run your own server, Bluesky will stay the same. Even if you do run your own server, you may be surprised by how little things change. In fact, it should feel so similar that you might have to double check that you’ve logged into the right server,” assures Bluesky.

Federation ensures that even if Bluesky disappears, the data stored on various servers will ensure that the network stays alive and the conversations continue.

Bluesky differentiates itself from existing federated social networks like Mastodon. While both use the term ‘federation,’ Bluesky’s AT Protocol operates differentially. Unlike Mastodon, changing servers on Bluesky doesn’t affect the content users see. This will ensure that the users can participate in discussions irrespective of their server choice.

Some key distinctions from Mastodon include a global conversation focus, composable moderation, composable feeds, and account portability. Bluesky emphasises a design that facilitates easy server migration without disrupting usernames, friends, or posts.

This move by Bluesky will challenge the status quo of social media companies and set a precedent for a more user-centric, decentralised, and open social media ecosystem.

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Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: kumarhemant@pm.me

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