~/Simon's Blog ❯

Why not Bluesky?

As promised, I will be talking about BlueSky.

For some background, BlueSky is a "decentralized"¹ Social Media platform that essentially aims to imitate Twitter, that's currently invite-only. It does not support most media types, alt text, and many other features are missing. It didn't opt to use Internet Standards like ActivityPub and instead chose to reinvent the wheel. It is being developed in-house at BlueSky - which is also a company - that only spun off into it's own thing in 2021. Before that, since 2019 it was just a side-project made by Jack Dorsey funded by Twitter.

With that out of the way, it kind of sucks.

Their initial plan was to develop BlueSky as a project that Twitter would at some point hook into - where Twitter would become just one part of BlueSky as an ecosystem. Not only did that not work out, with them getting rid of that plan in late 2022, but also have they not made any improvements in that regard since then. BlueSky isn't interoperable with existing internet standards for Social Media, namely ActivityPub, and it does not plan to be; BlueSky is it's own walled-garden which will be dominated primarily by bsky.app - the primary and only BlueSky server at the moment, thus making it no better than what Twitter was.

Additionally, because the AT Protocol that they're developing which powers the entirety of BlueSky on a technical level isn't an open standard, even if you implement it you'll be at the mercy of BlueSky as a company - and they want to make money, not a good product. In that regard they are essentially building a one to one Twitter clone, putting a BlueSky label onto it and calling it a day.

That doesn't sound so bad...what's your deal?

Well, I have a couple major problems with what I've described above:

  1. The network either won't ever be federated, or won't be federated for a LONG time to come.
    This is because to have a federated network, you actually need servers, which is currently not really possible, you can only connect domains to your BlueSky identity.

  2. It does NOTHING different from Twitter.
    It does not try to be unique outside of offering "feeds". Portable identities already exist elsewhere, so the last thing left would be the fact that it's federated...which is also Nothing New

  3. Privacy is not the default here
    BlueSky isn't designed with privacy in mind. The only way to use it right now is through BlueSky's own, bsky.app server, and that server demands personal data that they do not need, but is collected automatically for their favor. Additionally, private profiles simply don't exist and all your likes are public.

  4. Advertisements ARE coming.
    The data mentioned above also includes advertising IDs, which hints that they are fingerprinting you to serve advertisements in the future. There is no other reason to collect this data.

So I ask: why would you choose this platform over the existing, web-standards-based, open networks?

It's lack of features, privacy, or incentive to use this over other platforms simply does not make it an attractive option. The ONLY reason you would be choosing it over Mastodon or other ActivityPub-Powered services is because you haven't actually looked up jackshit except for BlueSky enthusiasts' opinions on how it's "too hard to choose a server".

Guess what? use Mastodon.social. You do not NEED to pick a server, mastodon.social is the official one, and you can move at any time if you feel like you don't wanna be on this server anymore.

To conclude: I think you're kinda silly if you pick BlueSky over Mastodon or other ActivityPub-Based platforms.


1: The Protocol allows for federation, just like ActivityPub is designed to do, but there isn't actually any other servers yet, and even if were are Federation is currently disabled.

Thanks for reading! I wish you a good rest of the day, evening, night, or whatever other time you're reading this!

#activitypub #bluesky #federation #mastodon #social media