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Bluesky’s Ozone Lets Users Run Their Own Moderation Services

ByHuey Yee Ong

Mar 14, 2024
Bluesky's Ozone Lets Users Run Their Own Moderation Services

Bluesky’s Ozone Lets Users Run Their Own Moderation Services

Bluesky, a decentralized social network often compared to Twitter, has unveiled a significant advancement in the realm of digital content moderation with the launch of Ozone. Announced on March 12th, Tuesday, Ozone is a groundbreaking open-source tool that empowers both individuals and teams to collaboratively review, label, and moderate content on the platform. This innovative step is part of Bluesky’s broader strategy to decentralize social media moderation, allowing users to install and subscribe to moderation services created by others in addition to the platform’s default settings.

Introducing Ozone: A New Era of Content Moderation

The introduction of Ozone aims to grant users “unprecedented control” over their social media experience by enabling a more tailored and personalized approach to content moderation. Bluesky envisions an ecosystem where users can stack multiple moderation services, thereby crafting a highly customized social media environment that aligns with their preferences, cultural contexts, and sensitivities.

Here’s an example of a moderation service that users can subscribe to. Credit: Bluesky

One of the most compelling examples of how Ozone can be utilized is through the creation of niche moderation services, such as one that filters out images of spiders for users with arachnophobia. This level of customization represents a significant shift towards empowering users to shape their own online spaces, free from content that may be disturbing or irrelevant to their interests.

Empowering Users with Customizable Moderation

Bluesky’s approach to moderation acknowledges the diversity and complexity of global online communities. Recognizing that a single team cannot perfectly moderate content for the entire world, the company is excited to open up its ecosystem. This move is aimed at empowering experts, developers, and users with local context to offer their moderation services, which others can subscribe to, enhancing the overall moderation landscape on Bluesky.

Key features and process for Ozone’s moderation services:

  • Availability: Initially available on desktop, with plans for mobile expansion.
  • Subscribing: As easy as following another account, lowering barriers to entry.
  • Collaboration: Allows for collective administration and detailed content labeling.
  • Community-Led Projects: Encourages development with the potential for paid subscriptions.

Ozone not only allows for the creation of independent moderation services but also enables users to report content directly through these services. This functionality is a departure from the platform’s previous system of mute and block lists, which were tied to individual accounts and did not allow for collaborative management or detailed content labeling. With Ozone, users can label specific posts, manage a reporting queue, and set custom filters, all of which are not tied to any single account, allowing for greater flexibility and collaborative moderation efforts.

Here are the custom labels that users can apply. Credit: Bluesky

What’s Next for Bluesky’s Moderation Services?

While Bluesky anticipates that many moderation services will begin as community-run projects, the platform also hints at the potential for services to evolve into paid subscriptions. This possibility opens up new avenues for moderation service providers to sustain and expand their operations.

In conversation with The Verge, Bluesky CEO Jay Graber shared insights into the potential impact of Ozone on the broader social media landscape. Graber highlighted the unique aspect of Ozone’s model, which allows for an unprecedented level of customization and user control over content moderation. According to Graber, this approach is set to “move forward the state of the industry,” offering a new paradigm where community preferences and individual user needs play a central role in shaping the online experience.

Since its launch to the general public in February, following a closed beta phase in 2023, Bluesky has rapidly grown, amassing over 5 million users. The platform continues to innovate, adding features like custom feeds and the ability to host servers. With the launch of Ozone, Bluesky not only expands its functionality but also reinforces its position as a pioneer in decentralized social media, offering a glimpse into the future of online communities shaped by user-centric moderation.

Featured Image courtesy of Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.