Reddit Community Considers Blackout In Response to API Policy Changes

Earlier this week, we reported how Reddit’s new policy literally forces you to switch to the official app by charging unreasonable sums of money from third party APIs.

This means that when the new policy will come into effect on July 1st, apps like Apollo, Reddit is Fun, Relay, Narwhal, BaconReader, and Sync will no longer work as they do now, unless they agree to pay millions of dollars to Reddit per month. Now, the problem here is that the creators of most of these apps simply couldn’t afford to move forward with the new pricing structure.

That’s not all though, as Reddit’s updated Terms of Service also prohibit these third-party apps from using ad revenue to somewhat balance out the increased costs. What’s happening here is that Reddit is simply trying to “price them out of existence.

What’s even more concerning is how Reddit intends to regulate the content posted when there’ll be no bots to automatically counter the influx of spam and stuff that violates user safety guidelines.

According to the mod team of r/ffxiv, numerous harmful subreddits may be shut down if moderators decide they cannot keep the community safe without the help of the affected bots and applications due to the expected increase in spam and potentially hazardous content.

However, the community isn’t just going to sit back and watch as there are efforts underway to address the concerns. Several Reddit community administrators have sent an open letter to the company, requesting that Reddit reevaluate its pricing structure and give credit where credit is due given the significant contribution made by third-party apps.

I, for one believe that it wasn’t for these apps, Reddit may not have the number of users it does now. With the changes in its policies, Reddit is essentially forcing completely different user bases to their own, (as most people call it) boring app.

With charging APIs, we’re starting to see this as somewhat of a trend where companies charge third-party apps extraordinary sums of money, just to kick them out, and with Reddit, it seems as if they’re going in the same direction, but still haven’t learnt from the mistakes that Twitter had made earlier.

Twitter started forcing third party apps who use their API to pay them a monthly fee, starting in at $42k, but soon when most small apps had shut down, Twitter rolled out the $5k plan, but it was already too late, and nothing could then be done.

With Reddit, it’s not a matter of thousands of dollars. They’re straight up demanding sums that are just too much, even for a large-scale app to even consider. This is why the community is so upset and now, subreddit blackouts are being planned by various communities as a method of protest.

To an average user reading this, it might not seem a lot, but there have been reportedly instances when this has actually worked out. The thing Reddit needs to consider is to simply re-evaluate their pricing, so that it’s feasible for third-party developers to sustain their apps. If not, the company should do a better job at designing their app’s interface in a way that appeals to a larger audience.

While we all know deep down that even the blackout is not the preferred course of action, it is being considered as a last resort if Reddit remains unresponsive to the open letter and other efforts. If the blackout becomes necessary, the current plan is for every participating subreddits to set their communities to private for a 48-hour period starting on June 12th.

During this time, the subreddit will be inaccessible, and it will not generate any ad revenue for Reddit. Users attempting to access the subreddit will be greeted with a screen informing them of the blackout, similar to that shown below.

After the blackout, if that too doesn’t succeed, there is a possibility where some communities will be potentially entering a “restricted mode” for at least a week. This would mean that old posts and comments would become visible again, but users would not be able to add new ones.

The main motive behind all this is to show that by disrupting normal subreddit activities and depriving Reddit of ad revenue, a message will be conveyed about the importance of addressing the issues at hand and finding a more feasible solution.

This is all we know for now. If you want to take a look at the responses of some of the more prominent third-party apps using Reddit’s API, take a look down below.


Muhammad Qasim

Qasim's deep love for technology and gaming drives him to not only stay up-to-date on the latest developments but also to share his informed perspectives with others through his writing. Whether through this or other endeavors, he is committed to sharing his expertise and making a meaningful contribution to the world of tech and gaming.