Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Reddit Communities Stage Mass Blackout Over Controversial API Pricing Changes




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In a bold move of protest, numerous Reddit communities have chosen to go dark, leaving tens of millions of users without access to their favorite pages for a minimum of two days, Your Content has learned.

This rebellion stems from discontent over Reddit’s impending changes that could potentially force several of the platform’s prominent third-party apps to shut down.

Among the subreddits that have participated in the blackout are the platform’s main gaming community with over 37 million members, the music subreddit with 32.3 million users, and r/todayilearned, a page dedicated to sharing fascinating facts, which boasts 31.8 million users.

Additionally, specific fandoms such as Harry Potter and Taylor Swift have also decided to go offline in solidarity.

While some communities plan to return after the 48-hour blackout, others have indicated that they may not resume activity until Reddit reconsiders its forthcoming modifications.

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The scope of the blackout was so extensive that the platform itself experienced instability issues on Monday afternoon.

The root cause of this uproar lies in Reddit’s announcement back in April regarding the introduction of charges for developers to access its application programming interface (API).

The API allows third-party apps to retrieve information from the platform, enabling developers to create alternative smartphone apps for users who prefer not to use Reddit’s official app.

Previously, accessing the API was free for all developers. However, starting from June 19, charges will be implemented.

To understand this better, let’s revisit the concept of the API itself. Reddit’s extensive database contains all the posts, comments, profiles, and other components that make up the platform.

When using a Reddit app, you essentially request permission from the API to view the specific posts, comments, and profiles you desire.

Until now, this service has been provided free of charge.

However, third-party developers will now bear the cost, which could become a significant burden.

The exact pricing details have not been publicly disclosed by Reddit.

However, the creators of the popular third-party app Apollo have claimed that at their current rate of API usage, they would be charged over $20 million per year.

The price they mentioned was $0.24 for every 1,000 API calls, which, considering their current usage, would amount to nearly $2 million per month or over $20 million per year.

One might question why users don’t simply switch to the official Reddit app.

The crucial factor here is that Reddit did not release its own app until 2016, despite launching the platform back in 2005.

Consequently, users had to rely on third-party apps for several years, becoming accustomed to their preferred choices and avoiding the official Reddit app altogether.

Some popular options include Apollo, Narwhal, Relay, and Infinity.

These apps offer distinct aesthetics and features while being shielded from unpopular changes made to Reddit’s official app.

Apps such as Apollo, Reddit Is Fun, Sync, and ReddPlanet have announced their imminent shutdown on June 30 due to the new API charges.

Other apps may follow suit or choose to charge their users to sustain their operations.

Various subreddits that have gone offline during the blackout have expressed their motivations.

R/gaming, for instance, declared overwhelming support from its members due to the exorbitant cost increase the API changes would impose on developers.

The music subreddit, inaccessible for 48 hours, encouraged individuals to voice their opposition to the new policy by contacting Reddit.

Moderators of the Harry Potter subreddit penned an open letter urging Reddit to reconsider the API charges to preserve the thriving ecosystem that has flourished around the platform.

Likewise, the Taylor Swift subreddit and others have raised concerns about the impact on users with disabilities, noting that some third-party apps offer superior accessibility, according SkyNews.

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