It happened: popular third-party Reddit apps like Apollo, Sync, and BaconReader have shut down due to the company’s planned API changes.
Ever since Apollo for Reddit developer Christian Selig revealed he’d be on the hook for $20 million per year due to the changes, Redditors have been furious over how the updates might affect third-party apps. More than 8,000 of Reddit’s communities went dark as a part of a coordinated protest.
Though Reddit announced it would exempt accessibility-focused apps from the pricing changes, things looked grim for other developers. On June 8th, Selig announced he would have to shut down Apollo, and soon after, other developers said they’d be shutting down their apps, too.
As the protests have gone on, Reddit has pushed moderators to reopen. While some have returned with their own spins on the protest, Reddit has told some mods of at least one community that it “will not” stay private and warned moderators of some closed ones that it will remove them — and it seems like Reddit’s efforts may have worked.
However, the company brought back its r/Place collaborative project in July, and some people used it as a place to express their unhappiness toward the company.
Here’s our coverage of the changes and unrest on Reddit.
Reddit is fighting for its soul. Many users are in revolt over API pricing changes that will shut down some of the most popular third-party Reddit apps, and they’re furious at CEO Steve Huffman after last week’s AMA that made it clear the platform wouldn’t budge. Huffman has argued the changes are a business decision to force AI companies training on Reddit’s data to pony up, but they’re also wiping out some beloved Reddit apps, and thousands of subreddits have gone dark for days in protest.Read Article >
On Thursday, Reddit offered me an interview with Huffman (who goes by u/spez on Reddit). I’ve already published one story from my conversation about how Reddit was apparently never designed to support third-party apps. But here is a lightly edited transcript of the entire interview — which, at times, was contentious.
Thousands of Reddit communities are still dark in protest of the API changes that are forcing some third-party developers to shut down their apps. It’s a startling change for many members of the Reddit community, but it’s one that Reddit CEO Steve Huffman tells The Verge that he’s fine with making. Those third-party apps, in his eyes, aren’t adding much value to the platform.Read Article >
“So the vast majority of the uses of the API — not [third-party apps like Apollo for Reddit] — the other 98 percent of them, make tools, bots, enhancements to Reddit. That’s what the API is for,” Huffman says. “It was never designed to support third-party apps.” According to Huffman, he “let it exist,” and “I should take the blame for that because I was the guy arguing for that for a long time.”
Thousands of subreddits are continuing to protest beyond the initial 48-hour blackout, as Reddit says it has no plans to back down from the changes it’s making to its API. As of this writing, one counter lists over 5,000 subreddits that are still dark, which include some of the site’s most popular communities with tens of millions of subscribers each.Read Article >
Some, such as r/funny, r/aww, r/Music, r/science, and r/videos are private and remain inaccessible. Others, like r/pics and r/Art are restricted, meaning it’s possible to view old posts but not submit new content. In these two cases, the last new posts from the community were on June 12th before the protest began.
Jun 14On The Vergecast: the war for Reddit, the future of Twitter, and the new MacBook Air.
The Reddit blackout rages on, so we spent some time with Apollo developer Christian Selig figuring out why. Plus, is Threads the future of Instagram? And is a 15-inch MacBook Air the one we’ve all been waiting for?
Jun 14“To subreddit mods: Please stay dark indefinitely!”
That’s the message from the reddark_247 Twitch stream, which shows a live count of which subreddits have gone dark to protest Reddit’s new API rules. Many communities are planning to extend their blackouts past the original Wednesday end date.
Over 8,000 subreddits have gone dark to protest Reddit’s upcoming API changes, and it’s shown me just how much I rely on Reddit to find useful, human-sounding information in my Google search results.Read Article >
With Google’s generally poor search results nowadays, appending “reddit” has long been the default way I search for almost anything (and no, I’m not ready to get my info from an AI chatbot, either). But given the sheer volume of subreddits that are currently unavailable — including some of the most-subscribed subreddits — clicking through many Reddit links in search results takes me to a message saying the subreddit is private.
The Reddit blackout is in its second day as more than 8,000 communities go dark to protest the tech giant’s plans to implement API pricing that users say is too high, too fast. It’s created a ripple effect from bored people not being able to access r/relationships to academics missing r/AskHistorians. In the process, it’s also highlighted an issue that often lurks in the darkness: accessibility.Read Article >
Subreddits like r/blind, r/HardofHearing, and r/deaf are relatively small, but their concerns loom large in the protest. Some disabled users fear the API changes will threaten their ability to access the site. Because both Reddit’s website and its official app fall short of their needs, they rely on third-party applications to navigate Reddit. Those third-party applications can’t afford the API fees, and some, such as Apollo, are already announcing that they’re shutting down.
Moderators of many Reddit communities are pledging to keep their subreddits private or restricted indefinitely. For the vast majority of subreddits, the blackout to protest Reddit’s expensive API pricing changes was expected to last from Monday until Wednesday. But in response to a Tuesday post on the r/ModCoord subreddit, users are chiming in to say that their subreddits will remain dark past that 48-hour window.Read Article >
“Reddit has budged microscopically,” u/SpicyThunder335, a moderator for r/ModCoord, wrote in the post. They say that despite an announcement that access to a popular data-archiving tool for moderators would be restored, “our core concerns still aren’t satisfied, and these concessions came prior to the blackout start date; Reddit has been silent since it began.” SpicyThunder335 also bolded a line from a Monday memo from CEO Steve Huffman obtained by The Verge — “like all blowups on Reddit, this one will pass as well” — and said that “more is needed for Reddit to act.”
In an internal memo sent Monday afternoon to Reddit staff, CEO Steve Huffman addressed the recent blowback directed at the company, telling employees to block out the “noise” and that the ongoing blackout of thousands of subreddits will eventually pass.Read Article >
The memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Verge, is in response to popular subreddits going dark this week in protest of the company’s increased API pricing for third-party apps. Some of the most popular Reddit clients say the bill for keeping their apps up and running could cost them millions of dollars a year. More than 8,000 Reddit communities have gone dark in protest, and while many plan to open up again on Wednesday, some have said they’ll stay private indefinitely until Reddit makes changes.
- Reddit really seems to be trying to shore up costs.
ICYMI, the company laid off about 90 staffers as part of a goal to break even next year, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month. In his widely-disliked AMA on Friday, CEO Steve Huffman said that the company will “continue to be profit-driven until profits arrive” — it seems that the layoffs and the third-party API pricing changes are part of that mission.
Christian Selig did not mean to be the face of a revolution. All the Canadian developer wanted, really, was to be able to keep working on his app. But that app, a Reddit client called Apollo, has become the central figure in an all-out platform war.Read Article >
The short version of a long history goes like this: in April, Reddit announced new terms for its API, the tool through which developers of third-party apps access Reddit’s data. Every time you post a comment, refresh a page, search for something, or take just about any other action in an app like Apollo, the app pings an API to get the data you need. Reddit’s API has been free for many years, leading to a flourishing community of third-party tools. But Reddit finally decided it was time to charge for access, both to recoup the costs of running the API and to help the company become more profitable ahead of its planned IPO.
- 7972 subreddits — and counting — have gone dark.
I’m signing off for the day, but I wanted to share the latest count of subreddits that are going private to protest Reddit’s API changes. 8,304 subreddits have pledged to do so, according to a live tracker.
The subreddit blackouts are expected to last until June 14th.
Many third-party Reddit apps will be shutting down due to the platform’s prohibitively expensive API changes, but I found one app that might survive — and only by dropping a free version of the app and switching fully to a monthly subscription.Read Article >
In a post on Sunday, the developer of the Relay for Reddit app for Android outlined how they might be able to keep the app running in spite of the increased API fees. “There’s no possibility to continue the free version of Relay; a monthly subscription price of $3 (or less) might be achievable,” the developer, “Dave,” wrote in the post.
- Reddit tested blocking logins from mobile browsers and forcing you into its app, but that test is over.
Reddit spokesperson Tim Rathschmidt tells The Verge that an experiment preventing users from logging in to Reddit’s mobile website is done. A Reddit admin confirmed the test a month ago after a Redditor said they couldn’t login to the mobile site on iOS.
- Reddit seems to be coming back.
Things have switched from “major outage” to “operational” on Reddit’s status dashboard, and a new message indicates things are getting better. “We’re observing improvements across the site and expect issue to recover for most users,” Reddit wrote. “We will continue to closely monitor the situation.”
Here’s our story about the outage.
Reddit went through some issues for many on Monday, with the outage happening the same day as thousands of subreddits going dark to protest the site’s new API pricing terms.Read Article >
According to Reddit, the blackout was responsible for the problems. “A significant number of subreddits shifting to private caused some expected stability issues, and we’ve been working on resolving the anticipated issue,” spokesperson Tim Rathschmidt tells The Verge. The company said the outage was fully resolved at 1:28PM ET.
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.Read Article >
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.
- Want to follow the subreddit shutdowns in real time?
The Reddark tracker that Wes posted about yesterday got too much traffic, so now you can watch the count go up in real time on Twitch. If you have the stream open, it plays a sound every time a subreddit goes dark — and over the past 15 minutes or so I’ve had the tab open, I’ve heard that sound a lot.
- Despite the outrage and planned subreddit blackouts, Reddit still isn’t planning changes to its API pricing.
That’s according to Tim Rathschmidt in an email to me on Sunday, at least. He says the company has nothing to share besides CEO Steve Huffman’s responses in his Friday AMA (which haven’t gone over so well with Redditors).
Thousands of subreddits are planning to go dark on Monday. The most recent count I’ve seen exceeds 5,500.
The version of Reddit we’ll see over the next few days may be a shell of itself. More than 100 subreddits have already gone dark, and thousands more plan to follow in protest of Reddit’s coming API changes, according to the website Reddark, which is tracking the protests.Read Article >
The protests are happening over API changes that will force many third-party apps, like Apollo and rif is fun for Reddit, to shut down. Frustration was already brewing in the community as developers began reacting to the changes this week, but Reddit CEO Steve Huffman’s responses in recent days have only escalated the community’s pushback.
- Reddark is tracking which subreddits are going dark.
A new website called Reddark has a list of subreddits (with their subscriber counts) going dark to protest Reddit’s recent API pricing changes that prompted third-party Reddit apps like Apollo to announce they’re shutting down.
So far, 160 subreddits have gone dark.Reddark
Jun 10Alexis Ohanian: “Online community-building is more like IRL community-building than people realize. Thing is — most people don’t wanna do the work.”