Thousands of Reddit forums closed on June 12, Monday, as part of a large-scale protest by users of this social media platform.
The voluntary blackouts, as a result of which the possibility of public access to materials published on community pages disappears, affect the largest virtual associations registered on this online platform, including popular interest groups dedicated to sports, video games, music, and history.
More than 20 subreddits, the total number of subscribers of which is at least 10 million people, and thousands of small networks are taking part in this protest.
The actions of the communities are a reaction of disagreement in response to Reddit’s intentions to charge several million dollars for the access of some third-party applications to the platform. Due to the implementation of this strategy, several leading developers of Reddit applications have already announced the termination of their activities due to the lack of financial opportunities to cope with new expenses. The practice of charging fees will be launched in July.
The protest, which is at the same time a confrontation between the corporate leadership of Reddit and users, who in this case were joined by developers, will be a turning point in the history of the online platform.
For many years, text publications, photos, and videos posted on Reddit have been available for viewing, commenting, and distribution from third-party applications. Now the platform has decided to receive large payments from the creators of applications under the pretext of maintaining the same level of access through the application programming interface (API).
Last week, Christian Selig, the developer of the popular Apollo app, said that Reddit wants to charge him $20 million a year to keep his product running. He stated that in this situation, the termination of the operation of the application is a solution to which there are no alternatives.
Reddit has aggravated the already difficult relationship with some representatives of the developer community by resorting to the practice of manipulative interpretation of the conversation with Selig. The company accused the creator of the application of blackmail. Selig recorded this telephone conversation, as a result of which the true content of the communication became known.
Those who disagree with the new Reddit policy argue that the practice of large fees will stop third-party developers from competing with the company’s proprietary application, which previously received negative feedback from users who complained of malfunctions, slow functioning, and a low level of overall quality. They also suggest that this policy may cause the termination of the existence of a community of volunteers who rely on third-party tools to do the important work of moderating Reddit forums.
Advocates of innovations, among which there are ordinary users, say that the company has every right to set prices for API access on its own. They also note that in this case, we are talking about a business that has the authority to control how the system of access to materials published on the platform is arranged. Some users stated that they were unaware of accessing Reddit from third-party apps.
Company co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman stated that the company should become a self-sufficient business, which is why it can no longer continue to subsidize commercial organizations that need large-scale data use.
As we have reported earlier, Reddit introduced new real-time features.