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More than 7,000 subreddits have gone dark to protest Reddit’s API changes

More than 7,000 subreddits have gone dark to protest Reddit’s API changes


Many subreddits are going private from June 12th to June 14th in response to Reddit’s updated API pricing. Some indefinitely.

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An illustration of the Reddit logo.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Over 7,000 subreddits, including many of the most-subscribed communities on Reddit like r/funny, r/aww, r/gaming, r/music, and r/science, have set themselves private to protest Reddit’s upcoming API pricing changes. It means these communities are no longer publicly accessible, even to Reddit users previously subscribed to them. Here’s a Twitch stream which is tracking the exact number of subreddits that have gone dark.

Moderators began planning the actions last week after the developers of some of Reddit’s most-beloved third-party apps said they wouldn’t be able to afford the platform’s updated API pricing. On Thursday, the developers for Apollo for Reddit and others announced they would be shutting down their apps on June 30th due to the API changes.

Many subreddits participating in the protest are going private for 48 hours, from June 12th to June 14th, but some plan to stay private until things change, according to a pinned post in the subreddit r/Save3rdPartyApps.

“This isn’t something any of us do lightly: we do what we do because we love Reddit, and we truly believe this change will make it impossible to keep doing what we love,” r/Toptomcat wrote in the post. And some subreddits didn’t wait until Monday: r/TIHI (Thanks, I Hate It) and r/polls were among those that went dark shortly after CEO Steve Huffman’s poorly-received Friday AMA.

A screenshot of the private notice on r slash aww
Attempting to access r/aww, one of Reddit’s biggest subreddits, shows this notice.
Screenshot by Jon Porter / The Verge

Apollo app developer Christian Selig, whose post about Reddit’s API pricing generated much of the initial outrage, said it was “incredibly amazing” seeing Reddit’s community come together to push back against the proposed changes. “I really hope Reddit listens,” he wrote in a post on the Apollo subreddit. “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.”

While many subreddits are going private, others (such as r/NintendoSwitch, r/Frugal, and r/StarWars) are instead choosing to restrict new posts. Historical posts are still visible, but moderators won’t be allowing new content on these communities while the protest is taking place. One subreddit, r/DankMemes, is still public but only allows users to post memes about the API changes.

In r/ModCoord, four separate threads detail an “incomplete and growing list of participating subreddits” that includes numerous well-known communities with tens of millions of subscribers.

Update June 12, 3:12PM ET: More than 7,000 subreddits have gone dark.