Tuesday 13 June 2023

Reddit Readers Revolt, Mods Set 48-Hour Blackout To Protest New Policy

 If you go to reddit.com/r/todayilearned on Monday, you won’t learn much.

That’s because TIL, along with more than 7,000 other subreddits, have gone dark to protest a new pricing policy set by Reddit, which dubs itself as “the front page of the internet.”

Moderators who run the subreddits  without pay, of course  object to a change to the platform’s application programming interface (API), which allows third-party apps like the popular Apollo to display content. The third-party apps are far superior to the official app and offer up content with ads.

Apollo’s developer, Christian Selig, has estimated it would cost $20 million a year to adhere to the new API policy to keep the app running, one website reported. He said his app will have to shut down, and others, like Reddit is Fun and ReddPlanet, say they will have to follow suit.

“I don’t see how this pricing is anything based in reality or remotely reasonable,” Selig told Artechnica. “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.”

Selig, who sees the move as nothing more than a cash grab by Reddit’s founders  including Alexis Ohanian, who has an estimated net worth of $150 million  said he has been “floored by the support.”

“Further, I really hope Reddit listens. I think showing humanity through apologizing for and recognizing that this process was handled poorly, and concrete promises to give developers more time, would go a long way to making people feel heard and instilling community confidence,” Selig said.

The blackout is set to last 48 hours, but some moderators could shutter their Reddit communities longer. One of the mods of r/Music, which has millions of subscribers, said the subreddit would go dark “indefinitely” from Monday, Shortlist reported.

Critics argue that Reddit’s official app is subpar, leading to the rise of third-party apps. “Some will return after 48 hours: 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,” u/Toptomcat said, according to Business Insider.

As a longtime reddit reader, I can attest: Reddit’s app is garbage. It’s so bad that many users skip the app and take refuge on the internet and even use a previous version of the website, old.reddit.

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman hosted an AMA — which means “ask me anything” — on the site. “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,” Huffman wrote.


Huffman claimed Reddit is not profitable.

“We’ll continue to be profit-driven until profits arrive,” Huffman wrote.

With the way things are going, that might not be happening anytime soon.

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