Redditors have mobilized!
In response to controversial and platform-altering changes to its API, Redditors are mobilizing en masse against the site and its CEO, Steve Huffman.
As the BBC reports, nearly 3,500 subreddits have gone dark for 48 hours in protest against the changes, which have made Reddit's previously-free API access incredibly expensive for numerous popular developers.
Though the changes were first announced back in April, the controversy is coming to a head now as popular third-party apps like Apollo, Reddit is Fun, and Sync are shutting down on grounds that they would be unable to pay their new API bills. (Apollo developer Christian Selig claimed that Reddit's changes would require him to cough up a sum to the tune of $20 million a year.)
As a result, moderators across the platform are taking their subreddits private in protest — which isn't a great look for the very much community-driven Reddit, especially with its impending IPO just around the corner. If, of course, it doesn't stall out once again.
The user pushback also comes on the heels of an absolutely disastrous Reddit AMA with Huffman and other platform leaders on Friday, in which Huffman vehemently defended the new API rules.
"Reddit needs to be a self-sustaining business," Huffman, who goes by u/spez on the platform, wrote at the top of the thread, "and to do that, we can no longer subsidize commercial entities that require large-scale data use."
Strength in Numbers
As the BBC reports, among the subreddits participating in the blackout are five of the site's most popular communities: r/gaming, r/aww, r/Music, r/todayilearned, and r/pics. Each of these forums hosts more than 30 million members apiece — staggering figures in their own right, but even more powerful when combined.
The protest is about "strength in numbers," an unnamed moderator of one of these highly trafficked pages told the BBC. "If it was a single subreddit going private, Reddit may intervene."
And frankly, if any site's userbase could successfully hold its leadership hostage, it would probably be Reddit's. The site arguably gleans most of its value from its dedicated patrons, and in a word, they're pissed, and they're letting Huffman know.
"This is a completely volunteer position, we don't receive any financial compensation," the unnamed mod told the BBC, "and despite that, we do like to take it quite seriously."
More on the Reddit drama: A Scandal Is Making Reddit Look Absolutely Horrible Right Now
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