Around 3,500 Reddit subforums went dark from June 12 to June 13 as Redittors protested the platform’s new pricing policy which is slated to take effect on July 1st.
The point of contention: Reddit introduced several new charges for its application programming interface (API.) So far, Reddit’s API has allowed users to post any content within the platform to several third-party applications. Unfortunately, thanks to these new charges, a number of these apps will soon be closing down.
One such app, Apollo, has already announced its closure effective June 30th. Apollo developer Christian Selig went on Reddit to say that his application is now being asked to pay $0.24 per 1,000 requests made to the platform’s API.
As a result, a sizable number of subreddits went off the platform for a 48-hour period to protest the upcoming policy. While some of these forums went back online as of Wednesday, June 14, others are threatening to close shop permanently if Reddit does not come up with a reasonable solution for the issue.
Why the Changes?
One reason why Reddit is set to implement a new pricing policy can be found in a recent post made by platform CEO Steve Huffman on Friday, June 8th, wherein he declared that Reddit has to become a self-sustaining business. However, to become one, the company decided to end subsidies on commercial entities that require data use on a larger scale.
This stems from the way major tech players like Google’s parent company Alphabet and Microsoft have used data gleaned from Reddit for training their respective AI initiatives. As a result, Huffman and Reddit’s management team decided to begin charging them for the use of the platform’s API as they refuse to give away valuable data for free.