X competitor Bluesky is rolling out its latest release, version 1.52, with a number of changes, including those focused on improving the safety and security of its microblogging platform. The Jack Dorsey-backed startup says it will now allow users to change and verify their email addresses as part of a larger effort underway to improve account security and authentication on the network. Plus, the app will now warn users of misleading links by flagging them.
But the latter is not an enhanced moderation policy. Instead, it’s a way to flag links shared in users’ posts that don’t match their text. If that’s the case, the app will offer a “possibly misleading” warning to the user to alert them that the link may be directing them somewhere they don’t want to go.
The larger change around security involves email verification. Bluesky says that, in the coming days, users will receive an in-app prompt to verify their email addresses. Plus, with the new ability to change your email, users who have lost access to their email account or made a typo at sign-up will now be able to update their email in the app’s Settings. After verification, if users need to make additional changes to their account, they’ll need to provide a confirmation code from their verified email address to confirm the change.
The addition is an important step forward in terms of making Bluesky more competitive with larger networks like X, which have more robust security controls.
While these security updates are the most notable changes for the fledgling social network, the update brings a few other improvements as well. For instance, the app will now prioritize people you follow in its user suggestions when you’re using features like search and suggestions, and on mobile, you’ll be able to swap between accounts by long-pressing your profile picture in the footer. An update to the image viewer on Android will also make it easier to pan and zoom, and alt text is now selectable when viewing an image on the web. There are a number of other bug fixes and improvements arriving with the update, too.
Despite remaining in invite-only status for the time being, Bluesky has been one of the more popular Twitter/X competitors, due to its roots as a Twitter-incubated project that was spun off. The company last month hit a milestone of 1 million registered users who have signed up for the service, though that’s still small compared with Mastodon’s 1.8 million monthly active users and Threads’ 100 million-plus registered users. Earlier this summer, Bluesky announced its first seed funding of $8 million and plans to monetize the service with custom domains.
It’s still unclear, however, when the network will actually open to the public, where consumer demand continues to outstrip access. The app hit a million downloads before it reached a million users, indicating interest in the app even from those without a way to log in.