What you should know about the app that takes on Elon Musk and Twitter

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Chrissy Teigen signed up. So does the Twitter star Dril.

We’re talking Bluesky, the newest contender vying for your scroll time.

Still in beta, Bluesky has already joined the growing list of social media apps positioning themselves as an alternative to Twitter, which has struggled since Elon Musk took over in October.

People flocking to the invite-only app compare Bluesky to “old Twitter.” One person compared it to a group of plane crash survivors. And quite a few are using their new social media properties to mock or slam Musk.

What is Bluesky?

Bluesky has a similar look and feel to Twitter and works the same way.

Under the hood, it’s a different kind of network. It’s “decentralized” so people can eventually create their own apps and communities and use social media however they want, including content moderation.

CEO Jay Graber calls Bluesky “a foundation for next-gen social apps that can bring back the openness and creativity of the early web.”

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Does Twitter own Bluesky?

Bluesky is endorsed by Twitter founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey, who announced plans for Bluesky in 2019. It operates independently of Twitter.

Bluesky has a moment

There’s no denying that the new app is lively. “Why Bluesky Is The New Hotness” was the headline in Friday’s newsletter by technology journalist Alex Kantrowitz.

New users doubled Thursday and Bluesky was trending on Twitter. Driving Adoption: Black Twitter Trendsetters Who Went to Bluesky.

According to analytics company Data.ai, the iPhone app Bluesky has been downloaded more than 375,000 times and ranks the 8th social app by iOS downloads. A recently launched Android app ranked the 22nd social app in the US by Google Play downloads

“The servers went offline (briefly) to cope with the spike in usage,” Kantrowitz wrote. “By sundown, there seemed to be enough newsmakers, newsgatherers, and amateur online comedians that it felt like this thing — unlike Mastodon, etc. — actually had a chance.”

What’s the problem with Twitter?

Bluesky is attracting Twitter users who don’t like the changes Musk has made, including easing restrictions on harmful language, bringing back banned users, and removing blue ticks that verified the identities of celebrities and other prominent figures.

Forbes reported Friday that a Twitter user who threatened President Obama’s life in January and February — threats serious enough to warrant an intelligence agency investigation — was not banned from the platform, something against Musk’s violated its own rules on death threats.

“It feels really euphoric to experience a platform without a swarm of hate groups constantly chasing every post,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “I’ve forgotten what it was like.”

How can I join Bluesky?

Bluesky launched in closed beta on iOS in February and on Android in April, so you’ll need an invite code to join.

If you don’t know an active Bluesky user or Bluesky developer who can give you one, join the waiting list on the Bluesky app or website.