This week, thousands of subreddits fulfilled their threat and “shut down” as a sign of protest against Reddit‘s new fees. Since April, it was known that Reddit intended to charge developers of apps and browser extensions for using their API. On June 12, one week after the “Don’t Let Reddit Kill 3rd Party Apps!” protest was called, the “D-Day” has arrived.
From June 12th to June 14th, an astounding number of subreddits (estimated to be over 7,000) have decided to “shut down.” Essentially, this means that these communities are now in private mode, preventing anyone from reading or posting anything, even those subscribed to the affected subreddits.
The inaccessibility of thousands of subreddits is not a trivial matter, especially considering the high user counts of many of them. Among the communities that have chosen to block public access are r/Music, r/Pics, r/EarthPorn, and r/LifeProTips, each of which has over 20 million users. Considering that a significant portion of Reddit’s monetization comes from advertising, this large-scale action may have dealt a significant blow to the company.
The blackout of thousands of subreddits is a protest against the “exorbitant fees” that Reddit plans to charge developers of apps for using their API. Initially, the exact amount Reddit intended to charge was unknown. However, Christian Selig, the developer of the popular app Apollo (which allows users to browse Reddit with many additional features), stated that the company demanded a payment of around $20 million per year for his app to continue functioning.
While the fees do not affect non-commercial apps that implement accessibility features, there are dozens of widely used apps by Twitch users and moderation teams that will cease to function because their developers refuse to pay such prices.
A very delicate issue that can evolve in various ways in the coming days. Will Reddit backtrack on its new fees? Will they pretend that nothing happened and let popular apps among users “die”?
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