In a significant display of resistance, thousands of subreddit moderators have launched a widespread blackout on Reddit, the popular online forum and social media platform. The blackout comes as a protest against Reddit’s decision to charge third-party app developers for accessing the site’s data. This move has sparked concerns about the potential consequences for both users and developers. The protest is expected to last a minimum of 48 hours, with some subreddits indicating their blackout may continue indefinitely.

The Impact on Users and Developers

Millions of Reddit users are finding themselves locked out of their favorite subreddits as moderators participate in the blackout. More than 3,000 subreddit communities, covering a broad range of topics such as technology, gaming, music, and more, have chosen to go dark during this period of protest. Subreddits with massive followings, including r/Music, r/gaming, r/science, and r/todayilearned, have joined the protest, leaving subscribers without access to their content.

The charge on third-party app developers directly affects popular apps like Apollo and Sync, which provide users with alternative interfaces for navigating the vast Reddit platform. Starting from July 1, developers who exceed usage limits will be required to pay a fee per user. This policy change has raised concerns among developers of all sizes, from independent creators to larger companies like OpenAI.

The Motivation Behind the Charges

Steve Huffman, the CEO of Reddit, has defended the platform’s decision, emphasizing the value of Reddit’s vast data corpus. In an interview with the New York Times, Huffman stated that he does not want to provide “all of that value to some of the largest companies in the world for free.” Reddit’s API, which allows direct access to the platform’s data, has become a valuable resource for various applications, including generative AI models like ChatGPT developed by Microsoft-backed OpenAI.

Huffman’s remarks indicate a desire to ensure that companies benefiting from Reddit’s data contribute to its sustainability. The charges on developers aim to enable Reddit to become a self-sustaining business and address concerns about subsidizing commercial entities that heavily rely on its data.

Voices from the Protest

Thousands of moderators and third-party app developers have voiced their concerns about the new charges. Apollo, one of the popular Reddit apps, has publicly announced that the increased fees have rendered their service financially unviable. Christian Selig, the creator of Apollo, shared on Twitter that the app will be forced to shut down on June 30. Other apps, including Reddit, Fun, and Sync, have also voiced their opposition, stating that the new pricing structure is incompatible with their business models, leading them to shut down before the changes take effect.

Broader Implications and Comparison to Other Platforms

The Reddit blackout raises questions about the role and treatment of moderators within social media platforms. Unlike many other platforms, Reddit heavily relies on its community moderators, who work voluntarily to ensure content quality and legality within specific subreddits. The protest highlights the crucial role these moderators play and their dissatisfaction with the platform’s decision.

The actions of Reddit mirror similar moves made by other social media platforms. For instance, Twitter imposed restrictions on third-party clients and apps, reinforcing its control over its APIs. These shifts in policies reflect a broader trend among social media companies seeking to assert control and monetize their platforms’ valuable data resources.


The Reddit blackout, driven by subreddit moderators’ protests against data access charges, has led to a substantial disruption on the platform. With thousands of subreddits going dark, millions of users are temporarily cut off from their preferred communities. The protest underscores the importance of Reddit’s data and the challenges of balancing the needs of developers, users, and the platform’s sustainability. As the blackout continues, it remains to be seen how Reddit will address the concerns raised and whether a resolution can be reached that satisfies all parties involved.

Written by Agbo Obinnaya.

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