Bluesky sparks outrage after allowing users to have racial slurs in username | Tech News

Bluesky sparks outrage after allowing users to have racial slurs in username

In a shocking incident, a user was allowed to register a username on Bluesky with the n-word in the handle, and it was only taken down after a huge uproar.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Jul 17 2023, 13:23 IST
Bluesky Social
Bluesky Social has composable moderation policies with the help of third-party providers. (Bloomberg)

In the last few years, we've seen several alternatives to Twitter rise up. Spill, Mastodon, Steemit and Threads are some of the options users can jump ship to if they're unhappy with Musk-owned Twitter. Even former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is involved in the race for becoming the top microblogging platform with his Bluesky Social. But unlike Twitter, Bluesky is a decentralized platform, meaning all the data is stored on independent servers instead of servers owned by the company.

While this might make it sound like it is the perfect platform to jump to, a recent incident on the platform has hinted at potential moderation problems.

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Racial slurs on Bluesky

In the last week, several people have reported seeing usernames containing racial slurs on Bluesky. Shockingly, this recent incident involved a user having the n-word in the username, having been allowed to register it on the platform. According to a statement by Bluesky, they received several complaints from users about an account having the n-word in the user handle.

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“On Wednesday, users reported an account that had a slur as its handle. This handle was in violation of our community guidelines, and it was our mistake that allowed it to be created,” Bluesky said. The account was removed from the platform within 40 minutes, and the code that allowed similar handles to be created was patched as well.

Furthermore, Bluesky went on to clarify that “significant investments” were made in the Trust and Safety Team and to deal with the growing user base, it would continue to invest in “moderation, feedback, and support systems”.

The main difference between Bluesky Social and Twitter is when it comes to moderation. The social media platform has composable moderation policies with the help of third-party providers. Although it will use an automated filtering system, the platform will also enable Community labelling, allowing users to manually label things. But if this incident is anything to go by, it seems like people are finding loopholes in the platform's policies.

Bluesky accused of 'anti-blackness' problem

But before the Bluesky team issued a statement, a LinkedIn post by Data Mesh Radio Host Scott Hirleman went viral, who accused the platform and its executives such as CEO Jay Graber of having an “incredibly bad anti-blackness problem”.

“If you don't want to run a social media platform, split the company in twain and go focus on the protocol and fund the platform with another team that cares. Or do you not care about marginalized groups?”, wrote Hirleman.

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First Published Date: 17 Jul, 12:35 IST
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