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You can now use Flipboard to browse Bluesky

The app is embracing decentralized platforms as it moves away from Twitter.

Flipboard

Bluesky, the Jack Dorsey-backed decentralized Twitter alternative, isn’t even out of beta yet but it’s already drawing the attention of more mainstream platforms. Now, Flipboard is adding Bluesky to its news reading app so users can browse their feeds alongside the app’s curated magazines.

The update is part of a broader effort by the company to embrace the growing crop of decentralized social media platforms in the wake of Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter. The company released a similar integration with Mastodon earlier this year, and will soon add PixelFed, an open source Instagram alternative, to its app as well.

At a basic level, the changes make Flipboard an increasingly useful utility for people who want to keep up with the happenings on decentralized platforms like Mastodon and Bluesky. Flipboard, which has long been praised for its design, could also serve as a more intuitive way to browse newer services that are sometimes criticized for being confusing to newcomers. It could also help increase the visibility of posts on Bluesky, which is still limiting new sign-ups, as users can “flip” content from their Bluesky feeds into Flipboard magazines.

But for Flipboard CEO Mike McCue, embracing these upstart social platforms — sometimes collectively referred to as the Fediverse — is also a more fundamental shift. McCue, an early Twitter advisor and board member, has become disillusioned with the company he once advised. He now believes that decentralized platforms, and the protocols that power them, will define the future of social media just as closed platforms like Twitter and Facebook did more than a decade ago.

“I was one of the early people helping to build the business model, and was a big believer in Twitter, and I think it's very sad,” McCue says of the current state of the Musk-owned company. “On the other hand, I think that this kind of change is extremely positive for the industry.”

Among Silicon Valley insiders, McCue may be one of the most vocal advocates for this vision. But Flipboard isn’t the only legacy social app paying attention to the rise of decentralized platforms. Tumblr has said it plans to adopt ActivityPub, the protocol that powers Mastodon, PixelFed and other federated platforms. Meta, known for watching potential rivals closely, is also working on a decentralized Twitter alternative that will tie into Instagram. The effort, reportedly codenamed P92, is rumored to run on ActivityPub. Meanwhile Bluesky is building out its own protocol, the AT Protocol, which could eventually power multiple other services as well.

All of these efforts are still in a very early stage, but it could be the start of something much bigger. “This is a really important moment when the death of Twitter is going to lead to the birth of the social web,” McCue says.