Bluesky is an initiative to develop a decentralized social network protocol. Organized by Twitter as a non-profit initiative, it was announced in 2019 and is in a research phase as of 2022. Bluesky is owned by the team itself, without any controlling stake held by Twitter.
Bluesky is an initiative to develop a decentralized social network protocol, such that multiple social networks, each with its own systems of curation and moderation, can interact with other social networks through an open standard. Each social network using the protocol is an "application".
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey first announced the Bluesky initiative in 2019 on Twitter. The company's Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal invited initial working group members in early 2020. The group expanded with representatives from decentralized networks Mastodon and ActivityPub. The group coordinated through Element chat software. Twitter commissioned Jay Graber of the Happening decentralized social network to compose a technical review of the decentralized social network landscape. She was hired as the Bluesky project lead in August 2021.
Twitter executives approved of the initiative's scope and goals, which include what the protocol itself should encompass and what should be left to applications (the social networks built atop the standard). Some of these goals include letting applications customize their system of moderation, making applications responsible for compliance and takedown requests, and preventing virality algorithms from reinforcing controversy and moral outrage. The working group did not have a common consensus towards these goals, so Twitter decided to field individual proposals, which ranged from reinforcing existing standards to endorsing standard interoperability, letting usage data decide where to invest. In early 2021, Bluesky was in a research phase, with 40–50 people from the decentralized technology community active in assessing options and assembling proposals for the protocol. The hired project manager will assemble the team of protocol developers.
The company's blockchain division, newly announced in November 2021, will work with the Bluesky initiative.
In March 2022, Bluesky announced three of their first employees. Aaron Goldman, who had previously worked for Google and Twitter, was hired as a security engineer. Paul Frazee and Daniel Holmgren were hired as protocol engineers.
On April 26, 2022, Bluesky put out a statement saying that the project will remain unaffected by Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter, stating that Bluesky has been independently operating as a public benefit limited liability company since February of that year. This gives Bluesky the freedom to put their resources toward their mission without an obligation to return money to shareholders.
In May 2022, Bluesky unveiled its first set of codes, including the code for its "Authenticated Ata eXperiment (ADX) protocol. They also revealed that they will begin to share the platform's development process, before the process is complete.