TechTake Control: Bluesky empowers users to run their own moderation services

Take Control: Bluesky empowers users to run their own moderation services

Karissa Bell

Bluesky, the open-source Twitter alternative, is preparing to test a groundbreaking feature: enabling ⁢users to establish their customized moderation services. This significant update will empower Bluesky users⁢ and developers to⁢ collaborate on crafting tailored labeling tools for the burgeoning ⁤social media ⁢platform.

Following the removal of its waitlist and opening its doors to all users⁢ in February, Bluesky has experienced a substantial increase in⁤ its user base. In ‌fact, the service has onboarded approximately 2 million new ⁤users,⁤ elevating its total community to over⁢ 5 million.

Bluesky’s moderation approach is rooted ⁤in the‍ same ideology that prompted the‌ adoption of personalized feed algorithms. The company aims⁢ to foster “an ecosystem of‌ moderation and open-source safety tools that grants communities the autonomy to⁤ establish their individual spaces, adhering to their unique norms and preferences,” as stated in a recent‍ blog post.

The implementation of these moderation tools will manifest in the form of labeling services. In⁤ a similar vein to⁢ how Bluesky‌ enables users to ⁢define their moderation preferences, such as opting to “show,”⁤ “warn,” or “hide”⁢ explicit content, developers will have the liberty to ⁢design their own filtering‌ mechanisms ⁢that others can choose to incorporate. For instance, an individual⁢ could⁤ create a moderation​ service ⁢like the “Spider Shield,” which screens out spider images⁣ from Bluesky feeds. This service would cater to users who are startled by seeing spiders ⁣in their serene nature feed, allowing ⁣them to filter out such content instantly.

To facilitate the realization of such⁤ features, Bluesky has decided to​ make its collaborative ​labeling tool, ⁤named Ozone, open ⁤source.⁢ Ozone empowers groups of moderators to address reports and apply labels to content. Moreover, developers have the⁣ option to devise automated​ labeling systems leveraging Bluesky’s API.

CEO Jay ‍Graber has dubbed this concept⁤ as “composable”⁤ or “stackable” moderation. Graber elaborated on this⁢ approach, stating, “We’re always implementing baseline moderation, ensuring that ⁣users encounter a default moderated experience when using Bluesky. In addition, users can personalize ‌their ⁤moderation settings on top of ⁤the ‌baseline.”

The rollout of ​third-party⁤ labeling services is scheduled to commence this week on the desktop ⁣version of Bluesky, with plans for a mobile version launch in the near future. As‍ developers and groups familiarize themselves ‌with the underlying tools, users can anticipate a ‌broader⁣ range of moderation options becoming available⁢ in the coming weeks.

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