Bluesky, the startup aiming to build a decentralized social network to take on Twitter/X, says it has begun deploying new safety tooling to help moderate content on the network through automation. Although still in private beta, the company has already made headlines for issues around content moderation in recent months after it initially didn’t ban a member making death threats, and later didn’t catch that some people were creating accounts with racial slurs in their usernames.
Now, the company says through a post from the Bluesky Safety account that it’s launching “more advanced automated tooling” designed to flag content that violates its Community Guidelines. The flagged content can then be reviewed by Bluesky’s moderation team to make a final determination.
“We’ll iterate on this so that mods can review offensive content, spam, etc. without any user seeing it first,” the post noted.
In addition, the company said it will also add back the ability for users to report their own posts for mislabeled content to help the moderation team fix incorrect labels. Users today can note if their posts contain adult content, for example, from the compose screen on Bluesky’s app. Until then, other accounts will be able to submit reports about wrong labels on users’ behalf, it says.
Bluesky also touted the launch of other new features including user lists (generic lists of users) and moderation lists (lists you create in order to mute or block many users at once). Plus, it’s added the ability to sync users’ moderation preferences between devices and remove adult content labels from posts that don’t contain images.
Beyond moderation, Bluesky is developing another feature that X already offers: the ability to control who can respond to your posts. For example, users will soon be able to limit replies to only people they follow or users on a certain list. This is similar to the existing X feature that lets users limit replies to people they follow, verified accounts, or only those accounts mentioned by name, in addition to the default of “everyone.”
Despite these changes, some Bluesky users are still advocating for the ability to set their accounts to private — a feature they have an increased need for after Bluesky announced it would launch a public web interface that would allow users without an invite to the network the ability to browse posts. That drove demand for a private, friends-only account type, similar to X, as many users didn’t want their posts available to the world. Others are asking for the ability to remove followers and urging Bluesky to fully ban accounts that violate the company’s guidelines.
Though many users have verbally expressed their interest in an alternative to X that prioritizes content moderation and user safety, one such competitor, Pebble, found that safety measures alone were not a selling point. The startup did not sufficiently grow its user base and shut down in October.