More than 300 subreddits, including popular ones like r/aww, r/music r/videos, and r/futurology, plan to go dark indefinitely after a large protest against Reddit’s API changes ends on June 14. This means users won’t be able to access these communities during this blackout.
This step was announced after The Verge reported that in an internal memo, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said “Like all blowups on Reddit, this one will pass as well”. Huffman said in the memo that the blackout hasn’t caused any significant impact on the company’s revenue.
Over the last few days, (June 12-14) thousands of subreddits have gone dark to protest API changes by the platform that will potentially shut down many third-party apps. Because of these subreddits going dark, the site briefly faced an outage on June 12. A post on Twitter suggested that this blackout impacted a large portion of Reddit’s activity. However, as Huffman suggested in the memo, a lot of the subreddits will be active again on Wednesday. Developers have also spun up a tracker site that tells users what subreddits are dark, restricted, or public.
Several subreddits are extending the blackout to June 20, with the readiness to extend it indefinitely.
Reddit first announced that it is going to charge for its API in April. Earlier this month, Christian Selig, the developer behind popular third-party client Apollo said that in a call with Reddit, he learned about unaffordable API pricing. But as the company didn’t budge on its stance, he decided to shut down the Apollo on June 30. Other popular apps like Reddit Is Fun, Sync for Reddit, and ReddPlanet also shut down.
In an AMA with users, Huffman strongly backed the new API pricing and even took jabs at Apollo and Selig. He said that, unlike some third-party apps, Reddit is not profitable and the company will “continue to be profit-driven until profits arrive.”
Reddit’s approach to making a lot more money is not surprising, given the company is reportedly planning to public this year. To cut costs, the social media platform laid off 5% of its staff last week and slowed down its hiring plans.
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