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App Developers Threaten Shutdown as Reddit Blackout Sparks Controversy

Reddit Users Experience Disruption as Communities Protest

12 June 2023

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Kunal Tyagi

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  • The Reddit blackout is a protest by moderators of over 3,000 subreddit communities against Reddit's decision to charge third-party app developers for access to the site's data.

  • During the blackout period, accessing private subreddits is unlikely unless granted direct access by the moderators, causing significant disruption for users.

  • Reddit's decision to charge developers is aimed at supporting high-usage third-party apps and ensuring the platform's self-sustainability, but developers and users have raised concerns about the prohibitive costs and potential negative impact on app availability.

Today, Reddit users are facing significant disruption as numerous subreddit communities have gone dark in protest. This blackout is in response to Reddit's recent announcement of charging third-party app developers for access to the site's data. This blog aims to shed light on the Reddit blackout, its causes, and its impact on users.


Over 3,000 subreddit groups, including popular ones like r/apple, r/videos, r/sports, and r/MildlyInteresting, have blocked public access to their pages. A blackout is a form of protest by moderators against Reddit's decision to charge developers for using data from the platform. By going dark, these communities are showing solidarity with various groups, such as bot developers, people with accessibility needs, and third-party app users, who rely on the API for their activities.


During the blackout period, accessing private subreddits is unlikely unless granted direct access by the moderators. Reddit has different types of communities, including public, restricted, private, and premium-only. With most subreddits going private, gaining access as a regular user is challenging, and moderators are unlikely to grant access during this protest.


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Reddit's decision to charge developers is driven by the need to support high-usage third-party apps and ensure the platform's self-sustainability. According to Reddit's CEO, Steve Huffman, the platform spends significant resources on hosting content and needs to be fairly compensated. Developers like Apollo and Sync have expressed concerns about the prohibitive costs, with Apollo stating it would have to pay Reddit $20 million per year if the proposed changes are implemented.


The blackout has resulted in a worldwide outage, affecting millions of users. This user-led protest has garnered Reddit's attention, as it reflects the frustration caused by the increased developer fees. While the blackout is set to last for 48 hours, some users have warned that they will not revert their pages to the public unless Reddit reconsiders its pricing plans. This action could potentially force app developers to shut down, impacting the availability of popular Reddit client apps such as Apollo and Sync.

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