Published on May 1st, 2023 📆 | 2836 Views ⚑


What to know about the app taking on Elon Musk and Twitter


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Chrissy Teigen have signed up. So has Twitter celebrity Dril.

We’re talking about Bluesky, the latest contestant vying for your scrolling time.

Bluesky is still in beta but has already joined the growing list of social media apps positioning themselves as alternatives to Twitter which has struggled since Elon Musk took over in October.

People flocking to the invite-only app compare Bluesky to “old Twitter.” One person likened it to a group of plane crash survivors. And quite a few are using their new social media real estate to taunt or bash Musk.

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend

What is Bluesky?

Bluesky has a similar look and feel to Twitter and works much the same way.

Under the hood, it’s a different sort of network. It’s “decentralized,” so that people can eventually create their own applications and communities and have social media their way including content moderation.

CEO Jay Graber calls Bluesky “a foundation for next generation social apps that can bring back the openness and creativity of the early web.”

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Does Twitter own Bluesky?

Bluesky is backed by Twitter founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey who announced plans for Bluesky in 2019. It operates independently of Twitter. 

Bluesky is having a moment

There’s no denying that the new app is buzzy. “Why Bluesky Is The New Hotness” was the headline of technology journalist Alex Kantrowitz’s newsletter on Friday.

New users doubled on Thursday and Bluesky trended on Twitter. Driving adoption: Black Twitter trendsetters who have decamped to Bluesky.

The Bluesky iPhone app has been downloaded more than 375,000 times and ranks No. 8 in social apps by iOS downloads, according to analytics company A recently launched Android app ranks No. 22 in social apps by Google Play downloads in the U.S.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks during a news conference with Democratic lawmakers about the Biden administrations border politics in January.

“The servers went offline (briefly) to handle the usage surge,” Kantrowitz wrote. “By sunset, there seemed to be enough newsmakers, news gatherers, and amateur online comedians that it felt like this thing – unlike Mastodon, etc. – might actually have a chance.”

What’s the problem with Twitter?

Bluesky is drawing in Twitter users who don’t like the changes Musk has made including loosening restrictions on harmful speech, bringing back banned users and removing blue check marks that verified the identities of celebrities and other prominent people.

Elon Musk's blue checkmark next to his name on a smartphone.

Forbes reported Friday that a Twitter user who threatened the life of President Obama in January and February – threats that were serious enough to warrant a Secret Service investigation – was not banned from the platform, violating Musk’s own rules for death threats.

"It honestly feels euphoric to experience a platform without a swarm of hate groups constantly hunting every post," Ocasio-Cortez posted. "I forgot what it was like."

How can I join Bluesky?

Bluesky launched in a closed beta on iOS in February and on Android in April so you need an invite code to join. 

If you don’t know any active users on Bluesky or a Bluesky developer who can give you one, join the waitlist on the Bluesky app or website. 

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