Reddit goes down just as a site-wide protest against its unpopular new API policy kicks off

Just as thousands of Reddit communities went dark to protest the company’s controversial new policy that will put third-party apps out of business, the website itself has gone down. The cause of the outage, for the time being, is unclear. But according to user reports, has been experiencing problems since around 10:25 AM EDT. However, Reddit’s own Status page is showing “all systems operational,” including its website.

That doesn’t appear to reflect the current situation, as reports are now flooding in indicating that the homepage won’t load. [Update: June 12, 11:04 AM ET: the status page has updated to reflect the outage.]

When you try to load the site, the main feed displays the message “Something went wrong. Just don’t panic,” and a pop-up says “Sorry, we couldn’t load posts for this page.”

TechCrunch is seeing similar complaints across Twitter about the outage, including those that wonder if it’s somehow tied to the planned protest.

Thousands of Reddit communities, or subreddits, had been preparing to go dark on Monday in one of the largest protests on the site to date. At issue is the company’s new API policy, which will increase pricing for developers to the point that those operating third-party Reddit clients will largely have to shut down their apps. In a testy AMA (Ask Me Anything) last week from Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, aka u/spez on the internet forum site, the company further explained its decision but didn’t show any signs that it would reconsider despite the massive community backlash. The exec also singled out the developer of one of the most popular third-party apps, Apollo, claiming bad behavior on the developer’s part, which further angered users.

Some accessibility-focused communities were also highly concerned about the coming shutdowns of their preferred apps, as the official Reddit mobile client didn’t meet their diverse needs. In response, Reddit relented on this front and said a handful of accessible apps would be exempt from the new API policy which goes into effect July 1, 2023.

Today, thousands of subreddits were launching a coordinated protest against Reddit leadership, by “going dark” — meaning they would switch their forums to private instead of public. Dozens of these communities have over 10 million subscribers, and include some of Reddit’s biggest groups, like  r/aww, r/videos, r/Futurology, r/LifeHacks, r/bestof, r/gaming, r/Music, r/Pics, r/todayilearned, r/art, r/DIY, r/gadgets, r/sports, r/mildlyinteresting and many others. Some, including r/iPhone, decided it would extend the protest beyond the planned 48 hours and remain private “indefinitely.” That means that no one, except moderators and approved submitters, could see the subreddit’s front page. Others would just see a message that the community had been set to private.

Reddit was not immediately available for comment.


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