Reddit users and moderators are outraged by the company’s new API policy, which will impose hefty fees on third-party apps that access its data. The policy has triggered a massive protest, with more than 7,000 subreddits going private and blocking public access.
The API policy, announced in April 2023, will charge third-party apps $0.24 per 1,000 API calls, making it impossible for many popular apps such as Apollo and Sync to continue operating. These apps have been used by millions of mobile users who prefer them over the official Reddit app.
Reddit’s CEO Steve Huffman has faced a barrage of criticism and profanity from the Reddit community, who accuse him of betraying the platform’s values and users. Huffman’s attempts to explain and justify the policy have been met with scorn and anger, leading to more resistance from the community.
Some of the biggest subreddits on Reddit, such as r/funny, r/gaming, r/music, and r/science, which have tens of millions of subscribers each, have joined the protest by setting themselves to private mode. This means that only approved members can view and post on these subreddits. According to Reddark, a website that tracks the protest, nearly 4,500 communities have pledged to go dark, while over 200 already have.
This protest poses a serious challenge for Reddit’s leadership and could affect the platform’s future. Reddit relies on its user-generated content and moderation to attract and retain users. If a large portion of its user base leaves or becomes inactive, it could lose its relevance and revenue.