Decentralized social media project Bluesky unveils latest protocol

Quick Take

  • The decentralized social media platform backed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Bluesky, revealed documentation and announced the Authenticated Transport (AT) Protocol.

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s decentralized social media initiative, Bluesky, announced on Twitter that it would rename its protocol from “ADX” to the Authenticated Transport (AT) Protocol and provided additional documentation on the scope of the project.

As Twitter’s answer to a call for a decentralized approach to social media platform creation, AT Protocol will hinge on account portability, algorithmic choice, interoperation, and performance according to a thread posted by Bluesky. Thus far the project has an official website that remains under construction, and the company teased the release of an upcoming socially-focused Bluesky App, built on the AT Protocol, for which users may join the waitlist.

AT Protocol will run on a federated network, said Bluesky, which is a type of network configuration featuring central management frameworks that allocate shared resources across a number of connected networks, or locations. To explain the network model, Bluesky offered an example where many sites run the protocol, and users may choose among providers. In turn, individuals or businesses can choose to self-host.

In terms of online identity management, in an effort to provide greater control to users, AT Protocol will enable account swaps between providers that Bluesky said will not incur any data loss or impact social graphs. Bluesky's approach to account management "doesn't require ties to real-world identity," Dorsey tweeted a response to another user in his own thread on the announcement, adding that to do so would be "very wrong."

Closed source algorithms that select what users see and who they can connect with can become problematic in cases where misinformation or divisive messages become overtly prevalent. Bluesky will support open-source algorithms that, it said, will put a greater degree of control back into the hands of users in terms of content and connectivity.

In August 2021 Bluesky hired Jay Graber, a former Zcash and Skuchain software engineer and founder of the social event startup Happening Inc., to drive development for the decentralized social media protocol.

Correction: Updates report to correct Josh Graber to Jay Graber.

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