In the wake of Reddit’s recent modifications to its data API, the social media platform finds itself navigating through a dark period.
Over the past month, Reddit’s CEO has defended the company’s decision in interviews, leading to clashes with developers and moderators. Numerous subreddits have gone dark in protest, resulting in a wave of discontent within the community.
As the API change and rate limits took effect on July 1st, Reddit is bracing for a future with fewer third-party apps, increased focus on its own apps, and a low user base.
At the beginning of June, Christian Selig, the developer behind the popular Reddit client Apollo, revealed that he had spoken with Reddit management, who informed him that the new API pricing would cost his app nearly $20 million per year to operate.
Selig’s post shed light on the concerns shared by many other third-party Reddit app developers about the viability of their future endeavors.
In response, several subreddits chose to go dark between June 12 and 14, staging protests against these changes.
Meanwhile, Selig announced that he would be shutting down Apollo by the end of the month, and other apps like Reddit is Fun and Sync for Reddit followed suit.
Reddit’s CEO, Steve Huffman, conducted an intense Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on the site, defending the company’s decision by emphasizing Reddit’s profit-driven approach until profitability is achieved.
Huffman also launched an attack on Selig, referring to protesting moderators as the “landed gentry” and discussing the potential redefinition of moderator rules to enable community voting for their removal.
Additionally, Huffman expressed his frustration at the $10 million annual infrastructure cost borne by Reddit compared to the profits made by third-party developers.
While the June 12-14 blackout did impact site traffic and even affected Google search results, the company maintained that it had not experienced any revenue loss.
Consequently, some subreddits extended their blackout, with communities allowing their members to decide the future course of action.
As Reddit admins threatened moderators to reopen subreddits, these communities devised alternative forms of protest, such as sharing images of John Oliver, implementing blackout days, and shifting the community’s focus.
While apps like RedReader, Dystopia, and Luna were exempted from API changes due to their accessibility features, moderators pointed out that these apps might lack adequate moderator tools.1