Over two and a half billion Reddit users have gone dark on the platform in protest of the recent API changes. The protest, named Reddark, has a livestream that sits at 7,199 subreddits going dark at the time of writing, accounting for a significant portion of the platform. The protest briefly caused Reddit to go offline, though it’s back now.
In total, 7,806 subreddits pledged to take part in the protest, but some have yet to go offline. The group includes some of the largest subreddits on the website, including r/funny (40+ million subscribers), r/gaming (30+ million subscribers), and r/food (20+ million subscribers). The admins of these subreddits, along with thousands of others, have set the subreddits to private so users can’t visit, post, or comment.
The protest takes place over two days, starting on Monday, and is built to push back against Reddit’s recent API changes. After seven years of maintaining a free API, Reddit announced it would move to a paid API model. The cost of this model has caused several third-party Reddit apps to close down, including the popular Apollo app for iPhone and Mac.
Subscribers of these subreddits can still browse the site and visit subreddits that haven’t been set to private. But by cultivating some of the largest communities engaged with the platform, there’s a good chance the majority of users subscribed to these subreddits won’t visit the site at all. According to PCGamer, the subreddits currently joining the protest account for more than two and a half billion users.
Subreddits have been planning Reddark for several weeks, first after Apollo went public with the pricing changes to Reddit’s API. In response, Reddit’s CEO held an Ask Me Anything (AMA) in which he defended the API changes. The company is sticking with its pricing model going forward, he says.
According to Reddit, over 90% of its third-party apps will fall under its free API model. However, the most popular third-party apps that can generate billions of requests within a month would have to pay, which is why Apollo, Sync for Reddit, and Reddit is Fun have all announced they will close on June 30.
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