Bluesky Says No ‘Heads of State’ On Its Twitter-Like Platform

Bluesky, the buzzy social media platform that’s emerging as a Twitter competitor, said on Friday that it will not allow ‘heads of state’ on the service yet, as the fledgling company seeks to control its growth during its beta testing phase, Fortune reported.

In a post on Bluesky’s official account Friday afternoon, the company said that its “current policy is that we cannot accommodate heads of state to join us in our beta yet.” The app, which launched in beta testing mode at the end of February, is still in the process of developing or fine-tuning key features, including content moderation.

The invite-only social media app has grown to roughly 60,000 users, and currently has a waiting list of 1.2 million people. Among some of the big names already on the app are U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and CNN anchor Jake Tapper. In the post on Friday, Bluesky said that “we appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm in sending invitations” but ask that people give the team a heads up before inviting prominent figures.

The decision to exclude national presidents and other leaders, even temporarily, is an interesting move in a social media landscape that thrives on the presence of well-known figures who act as magnets that draw more users to a platform, Fortune reported.

Bluesky was initially a project kicked off by Jack Dorsey when he was CEO of Twitter in 2019. Jack chose Jay Graber to lead Bluesky, and Twitter paid Bluesky services income to build an open social protocol for public conversation that it could someday become a client on. Bluesky has been an independent company since its formation in 2021.

In late 2022, Twitter chose to sever its service agreement with Bluesky, and Bluesky agreed. The Bluesky PBLLC has continued to pursue its original founding mission to “develop and drive large-scale adoption of technologies for open and decentralized public conversation.”

Bluesky is building a protocol that can make social networks work more like email, blogs, or phone numbers – the open systems that power the rest of our online lives. The protocol we built, the AT Protocol, is close to completion, and the Bluesky app is a microblogging client built on it to showcase the protocol’s features. The Bluesky app also introduces people to how a social web on the AT Protocol will work.

The goal of the AT Protocol is to allow modern social media to work more like the early days of the web, where anyone could put up a blog or use RSS to subscribe to several blogs. We believe this will unlock a new era of experimentation and innovation in social media. Researchers and communities will have the ability to jump in and help solve the problems social networks currently face, and developers will be able to experiment with many new forms of interaction.

Part of Bluesky’s post asks the question “What is your plan for moderation?”

Our approach to moderation is three-fold: automated filtering, manual admin actions, and community labeling. It stacks new approaches to moderation on top of what centralized social sites already do, and exposes the internals of the system for anyone to observe.

The open and composable labeling system for moderation we’re creating will allow anyone to define and apply labels to content or accounts, and lets anyone choose to subscribe to these label sets. Labels can be automatically generated or manually generated, and can be applied by any service or person in the network.

In my opinion, it makes sense for Bluesky to limit its growth of incoming users while it is still in beta. I think it is smart for Bluesky to hold off on allowing ‘heads of state’ to join in right now.