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Thousands Of Subreddits Go Dark To Protest Charges For Developers


Thousands Of Subreddits Go Dark To Protest Charges For Developers

The Reddit blackout protest has seen over 6,500 communities go dark.

Beginning today, Monday, over 6500 Reddit communities have gone dark and are restricting access to protest the changes to the company’s developer billing structure. The Reddit blackout protest comes as the platform told developers that it would begin to charge thousands of dollars for access to an application programming interface, or API. 

Subreddits Joining The Reddit Blackout Protest 

According to Reddark, a site that’s tracking the shutdowns, some of the most popular subreddits on the site that have joined in the blackout include r/funny, r/science, r/gaming, r/aww, r/Music, r/todayilearned and r/pics.  “/r/Funny has gone private as part of the coordinated protest against Reddit’s exorbitant new API pricing,” says a notice on the forum’s landing page. “This community has shut down and will not grant access requests during the protest.”

Users Urged To Write Complaints & Boycott The Platform 

“Don’t Let Reddit Kill 3rd Party Apps!” a post that announced the blackout said. The organizers urged users to write complaints and boycott the platform. They also enumerated a list of demands, with resolving the API issues as a top priority. Among the concerns for the blackout, organizers are permitting third-party apps to run advertising solely for the third-party developer’s benefit.

The blackout organizers shared, ‘Reddit, which has reportedly been mulling an IPO for years, draws the lion’s share of its revenue from advertising. But the company has barred third-party apps from running their own ads or benefiting from Reddit’s advertising platform, and that, coupled with the proposed API pricing, poses a significant risk to third-party developers.’

The Use Of API For Developers?

Developers use APIs to communicate directly with a website’s software or infrastructure, and they allow Reddit’s third-party developer ecosystem to build applications and services for users. The popular third-party app Apollo would have been one of the hardest hit by Reddit’s billing change. Christian Selig, Apollo’s developer, explained that the change would cost him $20 million a year, forcing him to sunset Apollo by the end of June.

What Kicked Off The Reddit Blackout Protest? 

On April 18, the platform announced it would begin charging for access to its application[T1]  programming interface (API) for third parties over “additional capabilities, higher usage limits, and broader usage rights.” The new pricing is expected to go into effect on July 1, 2023. Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, in his release, acknowledged “frustration” among many moderators but, he said, “Reddit needs to be a self-sustaining business, and to do that, we can no longer subsidize commercial entities that require large-scale data use.”

Reddit’s Decision & Its Adverse Impact On Communities

“Reddit relies on volunteer moderators to keep its platform welcoming and free of objectionable material. It also relies on uncompensated contributors to populate its numerous communities with content,” says a post on r/Jokes about the Reddit blackout protest. The notice added, ‘We implore Reddit to listen to its moderators, its contributors, and its everyday users; to the people whose activity has allowed the platform to exist at all. Do not sacrifice long-term viability for the sake of a short-lived illusion. Do not tacitly enable bad actors by working against your volunteers. Do not posture for your looming IPO while giving no thought to what may come afterward.” 

What Do Users Want From Reddit?

The choice to privatize these pages brings back memories of previous occasions when online communities employed similar strategies to amplify their concerns and advocate for reform. Through coordinated collective efforts, Reddit users aim to elicit a reaction from the platform and foster conversations about data privacy, user consent, and the platform’s obligations to its users. As the blackout persists, attention remains fixated on Reddit and its response to the raised issues. The platform’s administrators are now confronted with the task of tackling these concerns, assuring users of their dedication to safeguarding privacy, and implementing necessary changes to rebuild trust.

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Joseph Temitope Victoria, nicknamed ‘Temmie,’ is a GreenLemon Author and Content Creator. After her studies at Olabisi Onabanjo University, where she got a B.Sc. degree in Geography and Regional Planning, Temitope worked as Journalist with a specialization in Business and Economy. Temitope also holds an M.Sc. degree in Population and Manpower Planning, and interestingly she’s a self-taught poem writer. She owns a website ‘TemmiesAnthology’ and has spent nearly 6years writing on several niches. Whenever there’s free time, she spends it editing books – one of her newest is ‘In His Green Book’ by Terence A. Asitibasi. Temitope can certainly do whatever she sets her mind on.

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