Reddit, the popular social media platform, has recently undergone significant changes to its data API. Resulting in a series of events that have stirred controversy and unrest among its user base. In the past month, Reddit’s CEO has defended the company’s decision, developers and moderators have engaged in conflicts, and numerous subreddits have gone dark and staged protests in various ways. These events have marked a turning point for Reddit. As it prepares to navigate a new chapter with fewer third-party apps. A heightened focus on its applications, and an increasingly dissatisfied community. This article delves into the events of the past month and explores what lies ahead for Reddit.
The Controversial June
In early June, Christian Selig, the creator of the well-known Reddit app named Apollo. Disclosed that he engaged in a discussion with Reddit’s management regarding the pricing structure of their API. Selig estimated that running his app would cost nearly $20 million per year. This revelation prompted other third-party Reddit app developers to voice similar concerns about the future of their apps.
In response to these concerns, numerous subreddits chose to go dark from June 12th to 14th in protest of the API changes. Moreover, Selig declared his intention to close down Apollo by the month’s end. Prompting similar decisions from other applications such as Reddit is Fun and Sync for Reddit. with their closures. Reddit’s CEO, Steve Huffman, conducted an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session on the site to address the situation and defend the company’s decision. Huffman emphasized that Reddit would remain profit-driven until it becomes profitable and criticized Selig in the process.
Amidst the ongoing blackout by thousands of subreddits, Huffman participated in a series of interviews. He referred to protesting moderators as the “landed gentry” and discussed the possibility of redefining moderator rules to enable the community to vote them out if necessary. Huffman also expressed discontent with the fact that third-party developers were making money. Reddit had to bear an infrastructure cost of $10 million per year.
In response, Selig and other developers refuted Reddit’s claim about its efforts to collaborate with developers. Selig mentioned in a post that during one of the calls with the company earlier in the year. He specifically inquired about potential API changes, to which Reddit assured him that no such changes were planned.
While the protest from June 12th to 14th had an impact on the site’s traffic and even affected Google search results, Reddit maintained that it did not affect its revenue. As a result, certain subreddits prolonged their blackout period. Granting their community members the authority to determine the future direction of their respective communities. As Reddit administrators threatened to reopen subreddits, these communities adopted alternative forms of protest, such as posting pictures of John Oliver, organizing blackout days, and shifting the focus of their communities.