Bluesky Opens Its Doors to World Leaders Ahead of Critical Elections

Samanta Blumberg

Apr-16-2024

Bluesky Opens Its Doors to World Leaders Ahead of Critical Elections In a move that could potentially shape the landscape of political discourse on social media, Bluesky, the decentralized social networking service, has announced that it is now allowing heads of state to sign up and join the platform. This decision comes at a pivotal time, as countries like the United States and India gear up for major general elections later this year, underscoring the platform's recognition of the influential role world leaders play in shaping public opinion. During Bluesky's initial invite-only period last year, the company had adopted a cautious stance, explicitly stating that it did not allow heads of state to sign up. This policy extended to both current and former prominent leaders, with the startup requesting users to contact them before inviting such high-profile figures. However, in a significant shift, Bluesky has now opened its doors to world leaders, signaling a willingness to embrace the complexities and challenges that come with moderating political discourse at the highest levels. The decision to welcome heads of state onto the platform comes after Bluesky transitioned from its invite-only mode to a fully open platform in February, following nearly a year of controlled access. During this period, the platform faced moderation challenges, including instances of users employing racial slurs in their handles and a persistent push from the community to clamp down on hate speech effectively. In response to these challenges, Bluesky has taken proactive steps to improve its moderation capabilities. In December 2023, the platform introduced moderation lists and automated moderation tools, while last month witnessed the launch of Ozone, a tool that empowers users to build their own moderation and labeling services. These measures underscore Bluesky's commitment to fostering a safe and responsible environment for public discourse, a critical consideration as it prepares to welcome world leaders onto its platform. As Bluesky navigates this new territory, it will be closely watched by its rivals, such as Threads, which has distanced itself from actively recommending political content. However, Bluesky's decentralized nature offers a unique advantage, as users are not bound by a central algorithm and can instead subscribe to different feeds based on their preferences. This approach could prove instrumental in shaping the way political discourse unfolds on the platform, allowing for a more diverse and nuanced exchange of ideas and perspectives.

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