A number of subreddits on Reddit are planning several days of blackouts to protest the social media site’s proposed changes to its API, which will price many third-party apps out of existence.
Last week, Reddit announced that from July 1 it will be implementing significant price hikes for developers and applications looking to access its Application Programming Interface (API), which lets third parties access Reddit without first going through the site’s front-facing interface.
This lets developers create everything from automated modding tools, to unofficial mobile apps, overlay extensions, and accessibility tools. However, developers behind third-party mobile apps Reddit Is Fun and Apollo have claimed that Reddit’s planned pricing will make it impossible to exist; with the creator of Apollo citing annual costs of £16million ($20million) — something they could not afford to pay.
As a result, users — including the creator of Reddit Is Fun — have alleged that Reddit’s changes are a way to force out third-party apps and funnel readers into Reddit’s official app, while subreddit moderators have criticised the change as they will lose moderation tools and features available from third-party developers.
To protest the price hike, a number of mods have announced that from June 12, they will be shutting their subreddits down to protest the changes, with some confirming that they have no plans to return if Reddit proceeds with its API changes.
This includes a number of major gaming subreddits, including r/Minecraft (7.2million subscribers), r/PS5 (3.2million), r/DnD, (3.1million), r/Nintendo (2.2million) r/Terraria (1.1million), and r/EscapeFromTarkov (840K).
An incomplete list of participating subreddits names even more communities that have signed up for the blackout, while mods for r/Gaming — which has just over 37million subscribers — are currently discussing a blackout with their community.
Yesterday (June 5), Reddit confirmed that moderation tools will be given free access to the site’s API, while the “vast majority of API users” will not have to pay for access — though this does not appear to extend to larger apps, meaning next week’s blackout appears to be going ahead.
Earlier in the year, Twitter implemented similar changes to its API pricing, which resulted in World Of Warcraft losing functionality with the social media site.
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