Elon Musk apparently took a break from training for his upcoming battle royale with Mark Zuckerberg to do a new, incredibly unpopular thing to Twitter this weekend. In a bout of inspired stupidity, Musk tweeted out a new edict Saturday: from now on, anybody who doesn’t pay for Twitter will only be able to read a certain number of tweets per day. The subsequent uproar from platform users apparently encouraged some of them to seek refuge elsewhere, namely, on Twitter’s competitor site, Bluesky.
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Bluesky Social is the newest pet project of former Twitter messiah Jack Dorsey. The platform is similar to Twitter in many ways except it’s been built around a decentralized protocol, which advocates say could liberate the platform from some of the controversies and complications of Dorsey’s former platform.
CNBC reports that Bluesky saw “record-high traffic” this weekend amidst Musk’s announcement about the new tweet limits. The news outlet reports that:
…people have been turning to Bluesky, an emerging text-based social media site …Bluesky is still in an invite-only beta phase, and the company said in a post Saturday that its systems were experiencing “some degraded performance as a result of record-high traffic.” The platform also had to temporarily pause sign-ups to address performance issues.
Bluesky is currently “invite-only,” meaning that to get an account you have to be invited by a current Bluesky user, who will send you a code that can then be used to set up an account. With that in mind, Bluesky’s “record high traffic” over the weekend may have been a sign of a flurry of new accounts being activated or could have been a sign that new users who’d already set up accounts were using Bluesky more than ever. It’s not entirely clear. Gizmodo reached out to Bluesky for additional details.
Twitter has been on a downward spiral of epic proportions ever since Musk took it over late last year. Some critics think it could finally be toast. Still, alternative platforms (like the decentralized sites Mastodon and Nostr) have so far failed to pose any real threat to Twitter’s status as the king of microblogging.
Bluesky could (some day) change that. So far, however, it remains a platform with a tiny user base and big, big dreams. Currently, the social network claims to have approximately 50,000 users. The protocol upon which it is built is still in development, with the company saying that it is “close to completion.”