Twitter competitor Bluesky to let users host their own servers

Jack Dorsey’s X rival platform Bluesky announced on Thursday that it is going to start letting its users set up their own servers to host their data, a move it hopes could offer them more control over their content.

Normally, user data on social media platforms such as X – formerly Twitter – are stored by the company whose services one signs up for, and leaving a platform may mean losing one’s connections and content.

An alternate model advocated by many, including Mr Dorsey, is to have platforms run in a decentralised manner, similar to how the internet itself works.

For instance, on the internet, anyone can host a website, and choose from one of many companies to host their site and when they change their mind, it can be moved to a different hosting provider.

“We think social media should work the same way,” Bluesky said in a blogpost.

“When you register on Bluesky, by default we’ll suggest that Bluesky will store your data. But if you’d like to let another company store it, or even store it yourself, you can do that,” the social network said.

Users may also move their data to another provider at any point “without losing any of your existing posts, likes, or follows,” Bluesky added.

By self-hosting their data, users may gain more control over their social media, the company said, adding that it has “guardrails” in place to keep running the network smoothly.

Currently, Bluesky is allowing users to self-host only their main accounts.

In the next phase, it said self-hosted servers will be limited to 10 accounts each with usage limits, and subsequently this baseline would be increased as “trust and reputation is established” among those who self-host.

The company is also planning to roll out new tools for independent moderation services to combat abuse on the platform.

Bluesky’s move comes as it started allowing anyone to create an account and join the service earlier this month as previously anyone hoping to join the platform needed an invitation.

From the beginning, the platform’s founder Mr Dorsey has said he envisions Bluesky to be a new type of “open and decentralised” form of social media that is not controlled by any single company.

Bluesky plans to enable its users to be more free by allowing them to move their collections of friends, followers, and data to other social networks.

The technical term for enabling this interoperability of social networks is called “federation.”

In a cartoon page, included on its website earlier this month, Bluesky said it aims to be “ the last social account you’ll ever need to create.”