Bluesky’s Custom Algorithms: Could Giving Users a Choice in Choosing/Creating own Algorithms Be the Future of Social Media?

Screenshot 20230603 181333

Social media algorithms can do wonderful things. They have the power to make or break careers, amplify political polarization (Facebook, Twitter), make people do dumb stuff for clicks, (YouTube), and supposedly promote Chinese Communist ideals to our children (TikTok, though that’s up for debate).

Bluesky, though, is trying something different: You pick ’em. On May 26, the platform’s developers rolled out My Feeds, a feature that lets people decide what they see. There are 50 such feeds available on the platform, which is in beta mode. Options range from feeds that present the most popular posts to ones that specialize in showing only cats, nudes, lewds, or pictures of the sitcom puppet Alf.

It’s a move that fits in with Bluesky’s decentralized vibe. In March, CEO Jay Graber said the company would replace the “master algorithm” favoured by its rivals with “an open and diverse ‘marketplace of algorithms.’”

And yes, although it is slightly technical still to create them, users can actually create their own custom feeds as well. It certainly looks like the new kids on the block are offering more choices and control to users themselves. Decentralised networks also mean being able to choose between different moderation rules per instance as different individuals host these instances.