Bluesky is Jack Dorsey’s attempt at a Twitter redo and it’s already growing fast

April 28, 2023

Since buying Twitter last year, Elon Musk has made a series of chaotic changes to the social media platform that have alienated legions of users, reports Fortune Magazine.

That’s been good news for Bluesky Social, an invite-only rival app that has quickly gained a following since debuting in February. So far, its app has been downloaded 360,000 times from Apple’s app store worldwide, consumer data group Data.ai recently told Fortune, and over a million more users are on the waitlist to join. Most  of the new users have been added this month, according to Bloomberg.

Bluesky was created by Jack Dorsey, who happens to also be Twitter’s original co-founder. In contrast to Twitter, he wanted to build a decentralized service, meaning its user data is stored in independent servers rather than in ones owned by one company—thereby giving users more autonomy in how they interact on the platform.

“We envision an open social media ecosystem where developers have more opportunity to build and innovate; and users have more choice and control over which services they use and their experience on social media as a whole,” Jay Graber, CEO of Bluesky, wrote in a blog post last year.

Dorsey has said that one of his regrets was commercializing Twitter. If he had a chance to do it over again, he’d make it more like an open source project.

“The biggest issue and my biggest regret is that it [Twitter] became a company,” Dorsey tweeted in August 2022, responding to a question about whether the platform turned out like he wanted it to.

Bluesky’s rise comes amid growing scrutiny over data security on social media sites, as well as complaints about Twitter under Musk’s leadership. Those include Twitter requiring users to pay for blue check marks that signal their identities have been verified (these check marks were previously free) and then deciding to give away blue check marks to certain high-profile people (in some cases, dead people). Some recipients of free check marks are angry because the marks falsely make it appear as if they paid.

The origin story of Bluesky is closely linked to Twitter. It received its initial funding in 2021 from Twitter—Dorsey was the CEO until November of that year (it’s unclear exactly when the funding was received). Dorsey is also on Bluesky’s board.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine