X rival Bluesky hits 2M users, says federation coming ‘early next year’

Blue skythe company building a decentralized alternative to Twitter/X, announcement today it reached 2 million users, an increase of one million since September, although it remains an invite-only app. He also revealed his timeline for other key goals, saying he plans to go live with a public web interface by the end of the month and launch the federation early next year.

The latter is one of the most important differentiators between Bluesky and X, as it would allow Bluesky to function as a more open social network. This means it will work more like Mastodon where users will be able to choose which servers to join and move their accounts around at will. It’s what Bluesky says today that makes him “billionaire-proof” — a blow to Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter, now called X.

“You will always have the freedom to choose (and exit) instead of being subject to the whims of private companies or black box algorithms,” a business blog post explained. “And wherever you go, your friends and relations will be there too,” he notes.

Similar to the decentralized service Mastodon, federation would allow anyone to run their own service and connect to any other service also running the same protocol. In the case of Bluesky, this would be done via the AT protocol which the company is also developing alongside its consumer service and mobile app. However, the other major decentralized social network, Mastodon, uses a well-established protocol, ActivityPub, which has grown in popularity in the months since Musk acquired Twitter.

Since then, other companies, including Mozilla, Flipchart, AVERAGEAnd Automatic (the parent company of has adopted ActivityPub and Mastodon. This could pose a challenge when it comes to Bluesky’s eventual reach, unless it takes a step to allow the AT protocol and ActivityPub to interact in some way. Bridging both can be technically It’s possible, but it’s likely to happen later, rather than in the short term.

In the meantime, Bluesky is working to make its own service more accessible, which includes launching a public web interface later this month. This will allow anyone to view posts on Bluesky, even if they don’t have an account. This could make the network more promising in terms of being a true X rival for breaking news and conversations, but could also expose Bluesky users’ posts to the outside world in ways they are not prepared for. (The app currently doesn’t offer an option to set profiles as “private,” like Twitter/X does. Some users are not happy about This.)

Despite its growth, Bluesky’s hesitance to abandon its invite-only status and open its network to more users allowed other X competitors to gain a foothold. Last month, for example, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that its X alternative, Instagram Threads, has just under 100 million monthly active users. He estimates it could reach a billion users in the next few years. And Threads intends to interact with ActivityPub in the future.

Bluesky’s announcement follows Threads’ rapid release of features aimed at making its app more competitive with X, including things like a timeline flowsupport see your likes, research, an edit button (free)A web version, surveys and GIF support, topic tagsAnd so on, a developer API. Mastodon also took advantage of the opportunity offered by the acquisition of Twitter, and launched an easier-to-use version of its service in September. But Mastodn currently has 1.6 million monthly active userswhich still makes it much smaller than Threads.

Along with today’s news, Bluesky also noted other recently launched features including mobile push notifications, shareable user lists, email verification, advanced feed and thread preferences to sort and filter posts, a Media tab on user profiles, a Likes tab on your own user profile. , the following suggestions, and various accessibility improvements.

Although Bluesky began life as a Twitter project under Jack Dorsey, the company was spun off from Twitter with $13 million to engage in R&D. Dorsey serves on its board of directors. This year, the company raised an $8 million funding round led by Neo to continue its development, and moved from the status of a public interest LLC to that of a public interest C Corp.

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