Reddit Communities to Go Private in Protest against Proposed API Changes

| Updated
by Benjamin Godfrey · 3 min read
Reddit Communities to Go Private in Protest against Proposed API Changes
Photo: Depositphotos

In a group statement, the moderators of the thousands of subreddits participating in the protest stated that the potential impact of these changes goes beyond the inconvenience caused to users who prefer third-party apps.

In a remarkable show of solidarity, numerous Reddit communities have united to take collective action against an imminent change that threatens users’ ability to freely access APIs and tools. Starting today to June 14, these communities, which include popular crypto subreddits, will temporarily go private or switch to read-only mode to voice their strong opposition and highlight the significance of open access on the platform.

According to reports from The Guardian, more than 3,000 subreddits have joined forces in protest against the proposed changes to restricted access on the Reddit platform. Starting on Monday, these communities will effectively block anyone outside of their respective communities from accessing their posts.

Markedly, several prominent Reddit forums have pledged their participation in the ongoing protest against restricted access to APIs and tools. Notable communities such as r/todayilearned, r/funny, and r/gaming, each boasting more than 30 million subscribers, have committed to joining the campaign.

The ongoing protest by Reddit communities, which has resulted in the temporary closure of numerous subreddits, is centered around a series of forthcoming changes bordering on access to the platform’s Application Programming Interface (API).

The API allows other companies and developers to utilize Reddit’s data in their own products and services, fostering innovation and creating a rich ecosystem beyond the Reddit platform itself.

Reddit Communities Defending Open Access

By limiting or restricting access to the API, the communities claim these forthcoming changes threaten to stifle the vibrant ecosystem that has flourished around Reddit.

Additionally, the communities noted that the changes would impose huge fees for “premium access”, ultimately wiping out popular third-party Reddit apps like Apollo, which allows users to surf the site with a customizable interface.

Notably, Christian Selig, the sole developer behind Apollo, estimates that in order to meet Reddit’s increased fees, such apps would need to charge users around $5 (£4) per month.

In a group statement, the moderators of the thousands of subreddits participating in the protest stated that the potential impact of these changes goes beyond the inconvenience caused to users who prefer third-party apps. They hinted that it also affects the broader ecosystem of developers who have contributed to the growth and diversity of Reddit’s platform.

Furthermore, the moderators revealed that some communities will return after 48 hours while others will go private permanently unless the issue is effectively solved, as many moderators are unable to put in the job they do with the inadequate tools provided by the official app.

Reddit CEO’s Response to Differing Views

On the other hand, Reddit’s CEO Steve Huffman has replied in a blog post that Reddit will not back down on its API changes. Huffman highlighted that Reddit needs to be a self-sustaining business, and therefore, can no longer subsidize commercial entities that require large-scale data use.

While the community’s pushback and protest against the proposed changes to the Reddit API continues, it’s vital to highlight that the platform has also made progress in other areas. One such area is the achievement of a new milestone in terms of collectible avatar holders on Reddit.

Currently, Reddit has recorded 10 million collectors of its collectible avatars in less than a year after debuting “Reddit NFTs.”

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