Reddit Protests Impacts The Platform After API Changes


Yesterday, subreddits and their moderators went on strike against the social news aggregator’s API changes, and it had far more significant consequences than initially thought. Because Reddit was not reachable for several hours.

Starting July 1, Reddit will charge for API access, and a lot of money. For almost all third-party Reddit apps, this means that they have to shut down their applications because they are not making nearly as much as they should theoretically be paying. The Reddit community is outraged and yesterday started an unprecedented strike or blackout.

Nearly 8,000 subreddits are on strike

Almost 8000 “sub-forums”, also known as subreddits, have changed their status to “private”, some of which have “only” restricted posting. The protest will last at least 48 hours, but various large subreddits have also announced that they will withdraw indefinitely in protest.

This means that there is virtually no content worth reading or watching on Reddit right now. But the strikers also managed to ensure that the service was completely away from the window or network for around three hours.

“Expected issue,” What Reddit Said

Reddit spokesperson Tim Rathschmidt confirmed this to The Verge, though his repeated emphasizing of “expected issues” suggests the opposite: “A significant number of subreddits that went private caused some expected stability issues, and we’ve been working to solve the anticipated problem.”

The website was affected in the desktop and mobile versions, and the native mobile apps were also not accessible. This had consequences for the homepage in particular, but the subreddits that were still available could still be accessed.

Planned or not, the strikers can certainly consider the downtime a success, participation in the strike is unprecedented anyway. However, it is unclear and even unlikely whether the action will have any effect because so far Reddit and its boss Steve Huffman have not shown themselves to be willing to negotiate.

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