Reddit Goes Offline Amid Mass Community Protests Over New Pricing Policy

Social platform Reddit went offline for some time on June 12 when numerous subreddits or communities began protesting against the company’s new policy for access to the application programming interface (API), which would charge web developers for access to the site’s backend interface. The outage began at about 10:25 a.m. Eastern time, TechCrunch reported. “We’re aware of problems loading content and are working to resolve the issues as quickly as possible,” the company said in a tweet shortly thereafter. By 1:26 p.m., the incident was considered resolved. No operational issues were detected on June 13. The outage happened on the same day as thousands of subreddits planned to go dark in one of the biggest protests on the site. The reason for the protests is Reddit’s new API pricing policy that will raise costs for third-party apps, which some developers said would force them to shut down. Some subreddits focused on accessibility were concerned that the app shutdown would affect their access to features they use to manage communities, TechCrunch reported. The official Reddit mobile client is seen as not being robust enough to meet their needs. The new API policy is set to come into effect on July 1. Reddit has said that a few third-party apps would be exempt from the new rules. The protests were scheduled to last for 48 hours. By going dark, subreddit communities would switch their access status from public to private, affecting their visibility on Reddit as well as search engines. Over 20 subreddits with more than 10 million members, 19 subreddits with over 20 million members, six subreddits with over 30 million members, and one subreddit with more than 40 million members are reportedly taking part in the protest by going dark, according to data from Reddark, an open-source website that tracks subreddits. Protests and Pricing Though protests were originally planned for 48 hours, some subreddits like r/iPhone have decided to remain dark for longer. “After a shambolic [Ask Me Anything] held by Reddit’s CEO, it has become clear to us that Reddit doesn’t intend to act in good faith,” r/iPhone moderators told John Gruber of Daring Fireball. “When the CEO is willing to lie and spread libellous [sic] claims about another third-party developer, and then try double down by vilifying them, again, in an AMA, despite being proven as a liar by the developer through audio recordings, that’s when we knew what we were up against. Therefore, the subreddit will be privatized until such time as a reasonable resolution is proposed.” The AMA incident referred to by the moderators is related to a popular Reddit third-party app called Apollo. The app recently announced that it will shut down on June 30 due to the new API charges, which the developer said would cost his company over $20 million per year. Apollo’s developer Christian Selig said he asked Reddit CEO Steve Huffman whether the company was interested in buying Apollo for $10 million, half of the estimated cost to run the app under the new API policy. Huffman then claimed that Selig tried to threaten and blackmail Reddit into buying the app. In a recent Reddit AMA, Huffman, aka u/spez, insisted that the Selig’s “behavior and communications with us has been all over the place,” but many users sided with Selig, citing the recordings Selig made of his phone calls with Reddit executives. The changes in API policy come ahead of Reddit’s proposed initial public offering scheduled for later this year. In a Reddit post, Huffman defended the new API prices by saying that “Reddit needs to be a self-sustaining business, and to do that, we can no longer subsidize commercial entities that require large-scale data use.” Per the new policy, there will be a free tier with restrictions. Its premium enterprise plan will cost 24 cents per 1,000 API calls, which comes to “less than $1.00 per user/month for a typical Reddit third-party app.”

Reddit Goes Offline Amid Mass Community Protests Over New Pricing Policy

Social platform Reddit went offline for some time on June 12 when numerous subreddits or communities began protesting against the company’s new policy for access to the application programming interface (API), which would charge web developers for access to the site’s backend interface.

The outage began at about 10:25 a.m. Eastern time, TechCrunch reported.

“We’re aware of problems loading content and are working to resolve the issues as quickly as possible,” the company said in a tweet shortly thereafter. By 1:26 p.m., the incident was considered resolved. No operational issues were detected on June 13.

The outage happened on the same day as thousands of subreddits planned to go dark in one of the biggest protests on the site. The reason for the protests is Reddit’s new API pricing policy that will raise costs for third-party apps, which some developers said would force them to shut down.

Some subreddits focused on accessibility were concerned that the app shutdown would affect their access to features they use to manage communities, TechCrunch reported. The official Reddit mobile client is seen as not being robust enough to meet their needs.

The new API policy is set to come into effect on July 1. Reddit has said that a few third-party apps would be exempt from the new rules.

The protests were scheduled to last for 48 hours. By going dark, subreddit communities would switch their access status from public to private, affecting their visibility on Reddit as well as search engines.

Over 20 subreddits with more than 10 million members, 19 subreddits with over 20 million members, six subreddits with over 30 million members, and one subreddit with more than 40 million members are reportedly taking part in the protest by going dark, according to data from Reddark, an open-source website that tracks subreddits.

Protests and Pricing

Though protests were originally planned for 48 hours, some subreddits like r/iPhone have decided to remain dark for longer.

“After a shambolic [Ask Me Anything] held by Reddit’s CEO, it has become clear to us that Reddit doesn’t intend to act in good faith,” r/iPhone moderators told John Gruber of Daring Fireball.

“When the CEO is willing to lie and spread libellous [sic] claims about another third-party developer, and then try double down by vilifying them, again, in an AMA, despite being proven as a liar by the developer through audio recordings, that’s when we knew what we were up against. Therefore, the subreddit will be privatized until such time as a reasonable resolution is proposed.”

The AMA incident referred to by the moderators is related to a popular Reddit third-party app called Apollo. The app recently announced that it will shut down on June 30 due to the new API charges, which the developer said would cost his company over $20 million per year.

Apollo’s developer Christian Selig said he asked Reddit CEO Steve Huffman whether the company was interested in buying Apollo for $10 million, half of the estimated cost to run the app under the new API policy. Huffman then claimed that Selig tried to threaten and blackmail Reddit into buying the app.

In a recent Reddit AMA, Huffman, aka u/spez, insisted that the Selig’s “behavior and communications with us has been all over the place,” but many users sided with Selig, citing the recordings Selig made of his phone calls with Reddit executives.

The changes in API policy come ahead of Reddit’s proposed initial public offering scheduled for later this year.

In a Reddit post, Huffman defended the new API prices by saying that “Reddit needs to be a self-sustaining business, and to do that, we can no longer subsidize commercial entities that require large-scale data use.”

Per the new policy, there will be a free tier with restrictions. Its premium enterprise plan will cost 24 cents per 1,000 API calls, which comes to “less than $1.00 per user/month for a typical Reddit third-party app.”