Bluesky will let users run their own moderation services

Bluesky, the open-source Twitter alternative, is about to start testing out one of its more ambitious ideas: allowing its users to run their own . The change will allow Bluesky users to and developers to work together to create custom labeling tools for the budding social media platform.

The new moderation tools arrive as Bluesky is seeing a surge in growth after it got rid of its waitlist to all users in February. Since then, the service has added about 2 million new users, bringing its total community to just over .

The company has said its approach to moderation is based on the same philosophy that has led it to embrace algorithms. The goal, Bluesky wrote in a blog post, is to create “an ecosystem of moderation and open-source safety tools that gives communities power to create their own spaces, with their own norms and preferences.”

In practice, these moderation tools will take the form of labeling services. Just as Bluesky allows users to set moderation preferences — for example, you can choose whether you want the app to “show,” “warn,” or “hide” explicit content — developers will be able to create their own filtering systems others can opt into. “For example, someone could make a moderation service that blocks photos of spiders from Bluesky — let’s call it the Spider Shield,” the company explains. “If you get a jump scare from seeing spiders in your otherwise peaceful nature feed, you could install this moderation service and immediately any labeled spider pictures would disappear from your experience.”

To help make these kinds of experiences possible, Bluesky is open sourcing its collaborative labeling tool , which will allow groups of moderators to respond to reports and add labels to content. But the company notes that developers can also create automated labeling systems using Bluesky’s API.

Bluesky CEO Jay Graber has referred to the concept as “composable” or “stackable” moderation. “We’re always doing baseline moderation, meaning that we are providing you with a default moderated experience when you come in [to Bluesky],” Graber told Engadget last month. “And then on top of that, you can customize things.”

These new third-party labeling services will start to roll out later this week on the desktop version of Bluesky, with a mobile version coming “soon,” according to the company. And it’s likely users will see more options available in the coming weeks as more developers and groups get their hands on the underlying tools.

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