Thousands of subreddit communities have taken part in a 48-hour Blackout protest against Reddit’s recent changes to its free API access for developers. The company is planning to roll out a pay-as-you-go model, which could result in some app creators facing significant increases in API costs. More than 8,400 subreddits have joined the protest, with some intending to extend the blackout indefinitely. While Reddit CEO Steve Huffman dismissed the protest, saying it would pass, subreddits including r/Apple and r/iPhone plan to continue their protest against the company’s changes.
Third-party app Apollo for Reddit has already announced that it will have to shut down due to the changes, as the API costs will total $20 million per year, which the app’s solo developer, Christian Selig, can’t cover. The decision to remove free API access comes as Reddit prepares to go public later this year, with concern rising that the social network is being valued at an artificially high level.
The protest demonstrates Reddit users’ passion for change, with some of the biggest subreddits, such as r/funny, r/gaming, r/Music, r/science, and r/todayilearned, taking part in the blackout. Huffman’s comments may also alienate regular users, who could lose access to the highly-rated apps built through open Reddit APIs.