Why the Reddit blackout is happening

    It is possible to mourn something you love while celebrating its loss.

    RIP your Google searches; RIP your morning Reddit scroll; long live user-driven protests.

    Thousands of Reddit forums have gone dark(opens in a new tab) as of Monday morning to protest Reddit’s decision to charge third-party developers millions of dollars in fees for API access. According to Reddark(opens in a new tab), more than 6,500 subreddits have made their forums private during the blackouts — including the ever-popular 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,” a notice on the forum’s landing page reads, before linking to a story on The Verge(opens in a new tab). “This community will not grant access requests during the protest. Please do not message asking to be added to the subreddit.”


    Reddit is down amid blackout protest over company’s new policy

    Some of those subreddits, like r/Funny, have millions of subscribers, while others are smaller, but still well-loved, subreddits. All of the subreddits rely on moderators to ensure the forums are not overrun by bots and harassment. Many of these Reddit users are pointing out the irony that Reddit runs entirely on the labor of moderators who are not paid and yet are demanding more funding from its third-party app developers.

    “If they’re going to start charging for API calls, [moderators] should start charging reddit for their time keeping the website functioning,” one user wrote, on r/videos, according to CNN(opens in a new tab). R/videos is no longer accessible to the public(opens in a new tab) due to the blackout. “This site ONLY functions on the backs of free labor from mods.”

    And API access is an invaluable resource for Redditers who use third-party apps like Apollo, Reddit is Fun, Sync, and ReddPlanet are to browse Reddit, whose app kind of sucks. Now, many of those apps are having to shut down because they can’t afford the platform’s exorbitant costs that will kick in as soon as next month.

    “In order to avoid incurring charges I will delete Apollo’s API token on the evening of June 30th PST,” Christian Selig, the developer of Reddit’s most popular third-party app, Apollo, wrote in a Reddit post. “Until that point, Apollo should continue to operate as it has, but after that date attempts to connect to the Reddit API will fail.”

    “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 CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman said in an “Ask Me Anything” discussion Friday

    It seems almost completely supported by the majority of Reddit users, too — or at least the most vocal ones.

    This is a developing story.

    Read the full article here

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