Reddit Says 80 Percent Top Subreddits Open After Blackout Over API Pricing Protest

Reddit Says 80 Percent Top Subreddits Open After Blackout Over API Pricing Protest

Reddit said that most of the company’s communities were operating as normal — four days after a protest that shut down thousands of its online forums in protest over its plans to raise fees. In a blog post-Thursday, the company said that 80 percent of its top subreddits, or digital message boards, are currently open. The post was Reddit’s first since June 9. 

The website Reddark, which has been tracking the blackout on the site, indicated on Thursday evening that more than 5,000 subreddits still were limiting access to their content. That’s lower than the almost 9,000 forums that initially pledged to go dark for a protest starting on June 12, which was slated to last at least two days.  

The dissent stems from Reddit’s decision to charge for access to its application programming interface, or API, which allows developers to embed Reddit’s functionality into their own apps. The developer of one popular app, called Apollo, wrote that he would have to pay Reddit $20 million (roughly Rs. 160 crore) a year to continue operating under the new pricing policy. Apollo plans to shut down on June 30, the day before Reddit’s pricing change will take effect. 

Reddit has defended its decision to start charging its biggest users, who rely on its technology to make apps for browsing the site and organizing its troves of posts and data. It also responded to concerns over the fate of accessibility-focused apps, such as those geared at reading posts to the visually impaired, and said certain apps would be exempt from the new charges.

In Thursday’s post, Reddit said that 98 percent of third-party apps wouldn’t have to pay anything under the new fee structure, and that the fees it would charge developers were in line with its own costs.

“Mods and users want communities to be open and accessible,” the company wrote, and after expressing their point of view “many communities have decided to reopen.”

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