Reddit blackout protest to continue indefinitely, moderators say

Continuation beyond initial 48 hours comes after CEO said disruption ‘will pass’

Anthony Cuthbertson
Wednesday 14 June 2023 11:31 BST

Thousands of Reddit Forums Go Dark in Protest of New Policy

Dozens of popular Reddit communities have pledged to continue a blackout indefinitely after no resolution was reached over a pricing dispute.

The protest was initially meant to last 48 hours, with moderators of the subreddit communities hoping the action would force Reddit’s chief executive to reconsider charges for third-party app developers.

These charges have already forced the Apollo app to announce that it is shutting down, as they mean it will no longer be able to afford access to Reddit’s API (Application Programming Interface).

Apollo is one of several platforms that Reddit members use to access the site, with several subreddits posting a message on Wednesday stating: “Reddit is killing third-party applications (and itself).”

The continuation of the protest will impact millions of Reddit users, with more than 300 subreddits committing to staying dark. They include r/music, which has 32 million subscribers, and r/videos, which has around 26 million members.

Unpaid volunteers who moderate the communities claim that Reddit admins have been removing moderators who support the protest in order to force the sub-Reddits to open.

One moderator of r/gaming also claimed the defiant stance was a response to Reddit chief executive Steve Huffman claiming that the protest “will pass”.

In an internal memo to staff this week, Mr Huffman reportedly referred to the blackout as “noise”, despite more than 8,000 communities initially taking part on Monday.

“Please know that our teams are on it, and like all blowups on Reddit, this one will pass as well,” he wrote, according to The Verge.

“We absolutely must ship what we said we would. The only long term solution is improving our product, and in the short term we have a few upcoming critical mod tool launches we need to nail.”

Mr Huffman also warned staff members to not wear the Reddit logo in public, in case it made them the “object of [users’] frustrations”.

The CEO claimed that the site-wide protest had not resulted in “any significant revenue impact”, though this is unlikely to remain the case if widespread blackouts continue.

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