A few days ago, we reported that Apollo, an app that allows users to browse Reddit with more features than the official app, was facing an uncertain future due to changes made by Reddit in its API usage policy. Reddit contacted the app’s creator, Christian Selig, demanding $12,000 for every 50 million API requests if he wants his app to continue functioning. In Selig’s case, this would amount to $20 million per year, a sum he is unwilling to pay.
But Selig’s case is not unique. Both Reddit users and moderators rely on a multitude of third-party functions and apps that utilize the Reddit API on a daily basis. These tools are created for public use and do not seek any financial gain, but they will cease to function if their creators do not pay Reddit for API usage.
This situation has greatly upset many Reddit users, especially the moderators who ensure smooth operations on the platform and rely on third-party applications to carry out their duties. In response, hundreds of Reddit communities, including many of the largest ones on the platform, have decided to stage a blackout on June 12th as a form of protest.
In this way, huge subreddits like r/Music, r/Pics, r/EarthPorn or r/LifeProTips, which are home to more than 20 million users each, will be private for 48 hours, so the general public will not be able to access them they don’t even read its content. The convener of the protest, u/Toptomcat, posted the following text on r/Save3rdPartyApps (“Let’s save third-party apps”), a subreddit created for the occasion:
“On June 12, many subreddits will go offline to protest this policy. Some will return after 48 hours: others will disappear permanently unless the issue is properly resolved, as many moderators are unable to do the job they do with the poor tools available through the official app. This is not something any of us do lightly: we do what we do because we love Reddit, and we truly believe that this change will make it impossible to continue doing what we love”.
A protest that will be noted on Reddit, whose monetization is based mainly on advertising revenue (a situation that the company was precisely intended to solve by charging for the use of its API). Removing access to hundreds of communities with millions of users at the stroke of a pen will greatly affect the platform, and may help Reddit rethink the prices it intends to charge developers.
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