Hundreds of popular subreddits on social media platform Reddit – such as r/videos and r/reactiongifs – have announced they will be going offline as a form of protest for 48 hours on June 12.
The protest is due to the company’s announcement of a plan to monetise third-party app developers, such as Apollo, Reddit is Fun, and Narwhal, in order to access the site’s APIs (Application Programming Interface).
In a post to the subreddit, r/Save3rdPartyApps, Reddit user, Toptomcat expressed that the recent policy change threatens to kill many third-party mobile apps, making many features not seen in the official mobile app permanently inaccessible to users.
“On June 12th, many subreddits will be going dark to protest this policy. Some will return after 48 hours,” the user wrote. “Others will go away permanently unless the issue is adequately addressed, since many moderators aren’t able to put in the work they do with the poor tools available through the official app. This isn’t something any of us do lightly: we do what we do because we love Reddit, and we truly believe this change will make it impossible to keep doing what we love,” they said.
The new pricing policy is a threat to third-party app developers as the prices to access Reddit’s APIs are not, according to Apollo developer Christian Selig, “anything based in reality or remotely reasonable.” Selig has expressed that at Apollo’s current rate of making 7 billion requests to Reddit’s API per month, the app would need to pay Reddit $1.7 million per month, or $20 million a year. Selig said, “I hope it goes without saying that I don’t have that kind of money or would even know how to charge it to a credit card.”
Developers behind other third-party Reddit apps have expressed similar concerns to Apollo. The independent developer behind Narwhal said the app will “be dead in 30 days” as a result of the new policy.
While these changes will affect the average user experience, forcing users to use the official app, the main concerns arise for subreddit moderators who rely on third-party apps for tools to manage their communities.
In an open letter posted to the site, moderator BuckRowdy said that the potential loss of third-party apps would significantly impact their ability to moderate efficiently.
“In many cases, these apps offer superior mod tools, customization, streamlined interfaces, and other quality of life improvements that the official app does not offer,” they said.
Read the complete list of subreddits planning to go dark here.