In a show of solidarity against Reddit’s upcoming API pricing changes, a large number of major subreddits have gone dark.
The moves by each subreddit’s admins effectively lock their users out for the next 48 hours, or possibly longer. Some of the major subreddits taking part in the protest include /r/videos, /r/mildlyinteresting, /r/apple, /r/DIY, and more.
Overall, more than 5,300 subreddits are taking part:
The controversy stems from Reddit’s announcement of expensive API pricing changes that have raised concerns among developers of third-party Reddit apps.
Up until now, the API has been free to use. Many would recognise that offering API access for free is likely unsustainable but developers are now facing exorbitant costs under the new policy.
Christian Selig, the developer of the popular Reddit app Apollo, stated that he would owe Reddit approximately $20 million per year if the changes were implemented. Consequently, Selig announced that Apollo would be shutting down at the end of the month.
While acknowledging the need for Reddit to monetise its API, Selig criticised the pricing structure as unjustly expensive. He also expressed dissatisfaction with the minimal time provided for developers to adjust to the changes.
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman attempted to address the issue in a post on Reddit last week.
Huffman’s comments were met with significant backlash and received thousands of downvotes from Reddit users. Despite the negative reaction, Reddit has not yet reversed its plans, and the API changes are scheduled to take effect on July 1st.
The coordinated blackout by these subreddits aims to draw attention to the potential consequences of the API pricing changes. By going private, the communities seek to demonstrate the impact on users and developers, emphasising the importance of accessible and affordable access to Reddit’s API for the continued existence of third-party apps.
It remains to be seen whether the blackout and ensuing public outcry will prompt Reddit to reconsider its pricing strategy. In the meantime, developers and users of third-party Reddit apps face an uncertain future as they navigate the impending changes and assess their options moving forward.
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