Reddit Communities Protest API Changes with over 6,000 Subreddits Going Dark

The Reddit community is protesting against the company’s recent API changes. Many subreddits have turned private to prevent users from accessing their content unless they are already subscribed. This movement has grown significantly after Reddit CEO Steve Huffman’s AMA with users, in which he discussed the new policies. The protest has seen some of Reddit’s most popular subreddits, including r/ Music, r/funny, r/aww, and r/todayilearned – each having millions of followers – join the effort, along with thousands of other communities.

As of last Friday, the number of participating subreddits was just over 3,000. However, by Monday, the number had surged to more than 6,200 communities, according to a tracker monitoring the protest. While most subreddits have committed to a 48-hour blackout, at least thirty of them have planned to protest “indefinitely” until the company walks back its changes.

The backlash against the company’s new API policy began after the developer behind Reddit client app Apollo, Christian Selig, revealed that Reddit’s new pricing structure would cost him as much as $500,000 each year to keep his app running. Reddit added fuel to the fire with comments suggesting that Selig had “threatened” the company, which the developer refuted.

However, Reddit’s users are also frustrated and upset that they are losing many moderation and unique features only available via third-party apps. These apps offer better mod tools, customization, streamlined interfaces, and other quality of life improvements that the official app does not offer. Therefore, moderators of r/blind and others have expressed anger and said that the loss of some tools and functionalities provided by third-party apps would significantly impact their ability to moderate.

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For now, it remains unclear whether the protest will influence Reddit’s leaders. The company has previously defended the new API policy, due to the rise of generative AI companies taking advantage of its data. Huffman said last week in his AMA, “We’ll continue to be profit-driven until profits arrive.”

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