Bluesky is currently facing criticism for its failure to address the use of racial slurs in usernames, leading to frustration among users, particularly the Black community.
Despite violating the platform’s community guidelines, these slurs were not promptly removed, adding to the platform’s existing backlash for its slow response to hate speech and threats against marginalized groups.
Recently, Bluesky made an update to its flagged words list, removing various racist, ableist, and transphobic slurs.
This decision stirred controversy among users, sparking intense debates in the comments section of the platform’s GitHub page.
Some argued that certain words considered slurs in English may have different meanings in other languages such as French and Spanish.
Additionally, users pointed out that the list only prevented the use of flagged words in usernames, not in regular posts.
The contentious discussion eventually led to Bluesky locking the thread due to its heated nature. Bluesky’s CEO, Jay Graber, acknowledged the concerns and stated in a post on Saturday,
“Our community guidelines published yesterday reflect our values for a healthy community, and we’re working on becoming better stewards every day.”
The controversy escalated when users reported an account with a racial slur as its username. Despite being active for 16 days, the account was only removed after users flagged it.
Bluesky responded by stating, “User handles that are slur words are a form of harassment,” and implemented a change to prevent the creation of such handles in the app.
While Bluesky updated its banned word list to include slurs, expletives, and restricted celebrity names for new accounts, this change did not address existing accounts.
Consequently, one user was able to change their handle to a racial slur shortly after the update, raising questions about the effectiveness of Bluesky’s banned words filter.
In response to these missteps and the lack of an apology for the failure to implement a slur filter, many users threatened to leave the platform.
Rudy Fraser, creator of Blacksky—a custom feed for Black Bluesky users—stated that he would delete his account unless Bluesky responded promptly.
Other users pledged to cease engagement with the platform entirely, including the well-known Twitter personality Dril, who announced a “posting strike” until necessary actions were taken.
Some users carried out their protest, resulting in a diminished presence of the Black community on the app.
Subsequently, Bluesky made updates to its terms of service and community guidelines, explicitly forbidding users from using the platform to engage in illegal activities or cause harm to others.
The company emphasized the importance of treating others with respect and stated that targeting individuals based on race, gender, religion, ethnicity, nationality, disability, or sexual orientation would not be tolerated.
Despite user inquiries about enforcement and the possibility of hiring more human staff for trust and safety purposes, Bluesky did not directly respond to comments.
However, the company posted a thread reiterating its commitment to combating racism and harassment, mentioning investments in expanding the trust and safety team, improving policies, and prioritizing moderation tools.
Full Story Source: Bluesky Faces Backlash For Allowing Racial Slurs In Usernames