Society & Lifestyle

Reddit CEO Lashes Out on Protests

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman continues to defend the idea of expediency and justification of changes in the Application Programming Interface (API) access policy amid protests against this decision.

Reddit CEO Lashes Out on Protests

In April, Reddit announced its intention to start charging for its API. But the company did not provide information about the price range. In June Christian Selig, the developer of a popular Reddit client for iOS called Apollo, reported a telephone conversation with representatives of the digital platform. He said that under the new pricing policy, he will have to pay $ 20 million annually for the ability to launch an application. Selig then announced that he was forced to close Apollo amid the negative prospect of exorbitant financial costs. Other third-party developers of clients such as Reddit is Fun and Relay for Reddit also reported about the closure of applications.

The only exception under the new pricing policy was the provision of free API access to non-commercial applications that provide special functions.

Thousands of subreddits have been offline since June 12 in protest against these changes.

Huffman, while talking to journalists, compared the moderators who took part in the protest with landowners. He stated that a kind of community has formed inside Reddit, resembling in terms of its values and approach to interacting with others the landed nobility, which is a system within which people who got into the estate first remain and transfer their opportunities by inheritance, and this contradicts the principles of democracy.

Huffman announced his intention to change the policy regarding moderators. According to him, according to the results of these changes, users will have the opportunity to choose moderators by voting.

Reddit has its code of values. This system of moral and ethical coordinates defines the right to protest as legitimate. The Code also characterizes dissent, debate, and discussion as fundamental values. At the same time, this system of rules provides for the possibility of dismissal of the moderator in case he refuses to cooperate.

Huffman said that Reddit’s development plans do not envisage investing in paid moderators within the company and do not contain intentions to centralize power. This position means that the firm wants to continue the practice of moderation on a pro bono basis. Last year’s research suggests that the cost of paying for the work of moderators if the appropriate decision was made, would cost the company $ 3.4 million annually.

During the protests, the issue of the existence of third-party applications was of particular relevance. Reddit has repeatedly stated its commitment to the concept of free API access. But in the last few weeks, Huffman has made statements about the implementation of commercialization solutions and increasing profitability. Charging for the API is part of this strategy. In his interviews, Huffman stated that
Reddit is fully ready to work with people who are focused on cooperation with the company and announced a long transition period for developers. In this case, it means the period before the start of charging a fee.

Huffman, while talking to media representatives, expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that many applications using Reddit data earn millions annually, and his company at the same time spends up to $ 10 million on infrastructure over the same period. He noted that the digital platform has never functioned as a base for supporting third-party products. Huffman also stated that it was his fault that other applications were profiting from the Reddit infrastructure since he had supported this principle of operation for a certain period.

This week, Reddit published data that 80% of the top 5,000 communities by the number of daily active users are now open. Huffman said that the idea of the protest comes from a small group. He says that the protest activity provoked trouble, but it did not significantly affect the company’s revenue. At the same time, the firm’s reports contain data that some advertisers suspended their campaigns during the protests.

In a conversation about the consequences of closing third-party applications with journalists, Huffman said that 97% of people use the Reddit website or the official application to access the platform, noting that the daily active base of visitors is 57 million people.

In response to the statements of the CEO of Reddit, moderators are trying to find ways to make shutdowns effective. Some communities, meanwhile, are installing servers on alternative sites, including Lemmy and Kbin.

Serhii Mikhailov

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Serhii’s track record of study and work spans six years at the Faculty of Philology and eight years in the media, during which he has developed a deep understanding of various aspects of the industry and honed his writing skills; his areas of expertise include fintech, payments, cryptocurrency, and financial services, and he is constantly keeping a close eye on the latest developments and innovations in these fields, as he believes that they will have a significant impact on the future direction of the economy as a whole.