Reddit is in the throes of an upheaval.
Thousands of subreddits, including TIL, have gone black in protest of a new pricing policy implemented by Reddit, which calls itself “the front page of the internet.”
Subreddit moderators oppose a proposed update to the platform’s application programming interface (API), which would prevent popular third-party applications like Apollo from displaying material without their approval. The material provided by the unofficial, ad-supported apps is superior to that of the official version.
Many users have switched to alternative apps because they find the official Reddit app lacking.
Some moderators may keep their Reddit communities offline for longer than the official 48 hours of the blackout. According to Shortlist, a moderator for the massively popular subreddit r/Music said on Monday that the site would be offline “indefinitely” the next day.
Christian Selig, Apollo’s creator, reportedly calculated that complying with the new API regulation would cost $20 million per year to keep the service up. He indicated his app would be discontinued.
Selig, who views the move as nothing more than a cash grab by Reddit’s founders (including Alexis Ohanian, who is worth an estimated $150 million), said he was “floored by the support.”
Additionally, he is praying that Reddit takes note. To make people feel heard and create community confidence, Selig suggests demonstrating empathy by apologizing for and acknowledging that this process was handled improperly and making explicit pledges to give developers additional time.
Steve Huffman, CEO of Reddit, participated in a “ask me anything” (AMA) session. To achieve financial sustainability, Huffman argued that Reddit could not continue subsidizing commercial entities requiring massive data use.
Huffman stated that Reddit loses money.
He said that Reddit would remain profit-driven until revenues materialize, but on its
current trajectory, he suggests that that is implausible.