Reddit Communities Stage Blackout Protest Against Data Access Charges


Reddit Blackout Protest: A protest known as the Reddit blackout took place as numerous popular Reddit communities, covering diverse topics such as Apple Inc, gaming, and music, decided to lock out their users. The protest aimed to voice opposition to Reddit’s upcoming plan to charge for access to its data.

Starting next month, Reddit intends to impose fees on third-party app developers who utilize its extensive data resources. These changes could impact a wide range of players, from larger companies like OpenAI to smaller developers.

Among the affected parties is the Apollo app, renowned among Redditors for its alternative interface to the official platform. The app announced that the exorbitant fees have rendered it impossible to continue offering its services.

Here are some key facts about the protest:

What led to the Reddit Blackout Protest?

The blackout was organized in response to Reddit’s April announcement that it would begin charging third parties for its application programming interface (API). The API serves as a software framework enabling communication between a data provider and an end-user.

Starting from July 1, Reddit plans to charge developers who require higher usage limits $0.24 for every 1,000 API calls or less than $1 per user every month.

Apollo stated that, based on their current usage, the charges would amount to over $20 million annually.

Why is Reddit implementing this change?

One of the reasons behind the change is related to generative AI.

Reddit’s discussion forums contain a substantial amount of data that can be utilized to train tools like ChatGPT, the popular chatbot developed by Microsoft-backed OpenAI. While some data can be collected in an unstructured manner, Reddit’s API simplifies the process for companies to directly access and compile the data.

In an interview with the New York Times in April, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman emphasized the value of Reddit’s data corpus and expressed reluctance to provide this value for free to some of the world’s largest companies.

Who will be affected, and when will the Reddit blackout end?

Thousands of subreddits, which are dedicated forums on specific topics, are participating in the protest. Most moderators have planned a 48-hour blackout during which their pages will go private, resulting in millions of users being denied access.

Subreddits such as r/Music, r/gaming, r/science, and r/todayilearned, all with over 30 million subscribers, are taking part. Some subreddits, like r/Music, have decided to extend their protest indefinitely.

Unlike many other social media platforms, Reddit heavily relies on community moderators, known as “mods,” who voluntarily police their subreddits to remove offensive or illegal content.

What are third-party app developers saying?

Christian Selig, the creator of the Apollo app for Reddit, announced last week that the service would shut down on June 30.

Huffman mentioned that other third-party apps like Reddit is Fun and Sync have also determined that the new pricing structure is unworkable for their businesses, leading them to close before the pricing changes take effect.

What is Reddit’s response?

Huffman acknowledged the frustration expressed by many Reddit community moderators, but he explained that the company can no longer subsidize commercial entities that require extensive data usage. Reddit needs to operate as a self-sustaining business.

How are other social media companies responding?

In January, Twitter, led by Elon Musk, restricted access to its APIs for all third-party clients and apps. The company updated its rules for developers, explicitly stating that the API cannot be used to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Application.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 5

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Leave a Comment