Bluesky now lets you choose your own algorithm

Bluesky now lets you choose your own algorithm

Bluesky, the Jack Dorsey-backed decentralized, has released one of its biggest updates yet: the ability for users to choose their own algorithms. The service, which is still in closed beta, has released its “custom feeds” feature, which allows users to subscribe to a range of different algorithms and create their own for others to follow.

In practice, the feature works much like pinning different lists to your personal timeline on Twitter, in that users can subscribe to multiple feeds and easily swipe between them in the app. But personalized feeds, because they’re algorithmic, are also more powerful than simple lists of accounts.

For example, there is a dedicated feed for posts from your mutuals – the people you follow and who also follow you. It may look like a list, but unlike a Twitter list, the feed should change as you gain more mutual followers. And while Bluesky’s app still defaults to the “following” timeline, most custom feeds are non-chronological.

Blue sky

The feeds also provide a window into the various communities forming on Bluesky, as well as trends on the platform. There are already custom feeds dedicated to furs, cat pics, queer shit posters, positive thoughts, and . Early adopters were able to experience the feature for a while thanks to third-party apps, like and , which added the feature before the official BlueSky app.

For now, creating a stream for Bluesky is open to anyone, although it is “currently a technical process,” Bluesky protocol engineer Paul Frazee said in a post. . “In future updates, we will make it easier for users to create custom in-app flows.”

The update could end up being a defining feature of Bluesky. Jay Graber, CEO of Bluesky, this algorithmic choice could respond to “the backlash against the perceived algorithmic manipulation of people’s timelines.” It also offers a preview of what’s to come for the startup platform. Graber described a similar view of content moderation, with users controlling the level of moderation and filtering they want.

“Our goal is to assemble a social media architecture that composes third-party services into a seamless user experience, because an open ecosystem is likely to scale faster than a single curation or moderation approach developed within a company,” Graber wrote. “By creating the interfaces for innovation in these areas, we hope to deliver a dynamic, user-centric social experience.”

The idea of ​​custom algorithms is one long embraced by Jack Dorsey, who pioneered the idea of ​​allowing users to choose their own algorithms multiple times while he was still using Twitter. It also comes from the fact that there is an industry-wide impact of social media algorithms on users and whether the companies operating the major platforms are, even inadvertently, at the scale of a group of users. The appeal of custom algorithms is that users know in advance what each stream prioritizes and can easily switch between experiences, most of which are not controlled by the platform.


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