Why Are Thousands Of Reddit Communities Locking Out Users For 48 Hours?

Why Are Thousands Of Reddit Communities Locking Out Users For 48 Hours?
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Jerod Harris

Thousands of Reddit forums restricted user access on Monday to protest against the company’s plan to charge for access to its data. The voluntary blackouts restrict the group's content from being publicly visible and affected Reddit's largest communities including popular groups devoted to music history, sports, and video games.

The protest includes more than 12 subreddits and at least 10 million subscribers as well as thousands of smaller networks within the social media platform, as per CNN Business. 

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The outrage is over a Reddit plan to charge millions of dollars in fee for some third-party apps to access the platform. As per Reuters, Reddit is looking to go public later this year. 

Pexels | Brett Jordan
Pexels | Brett Jordan

Reddit announced in April that it would start charging third parties for its API, a software framework that allows any data provider and an end user to communicate. From July 1, Reddit plans to charge developers that require higher usage limits $0.24 for every 1,000 API calls or less than $1 per user every month.

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Why Is Reddit Implementing A Subscription Model For Their API?

Pexels | Brett Jordan
Pexels | Brett Jordan

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One of the many reasons behind this is generative artificial intelligence. Reddit's forums have loads and loads of data that can be used to effectively train tools like ChatGPT, the Microsoft-backed Open AI software. Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said in an interview with the New York Times in April that "Reddit corpus of data is really valuable" and he doesn't want to "need to give all of that value to some of the largest companies in the world for free".

Who Is Going To Get Affected and When Will The Reddit Blackout End?



 

The moderators are determined to protest for at least 48 hours during which the forums will go private and millions of users will be barred from accessing the subreddits. 

Subreddits such as r/Music, r/gaming, r/science, and r/todayilearned -- all with more than 30 million subscribers -- are protesting. Some like r/Music plan to protest indefinitely.

Is Reddit The only Social Media Site To Restrict Third-Party Clients?

Not really, Elon Musk's Twitter restricted all third-party apps and clients and even updated their rules for developers accessing their API. The new rules say that the devs cannot use the company's API to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Application".



 

The idea of the social media platform was conceived by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian on June 23, 2005. The two were studying at the University of Virginia at the time and began building Reddit just for kicks.

American start-up funder Y Combinator gave Reddit around $100,000 in 2005. Later that year, Reddit merged with Infogami and started working with Aaron Schwartz.

Schwartz rewrote Reddit's codebase once again, this time using the program he had made for Infogami.

The sites struggled quite a lot but after the merger, they were able to take off, as per The Fact Site. 

Reddit began with only a few subreddits. This allowed users to categorize the information in a precise way. 

Once a subreddit is created, it remains on the site forever. Despite a slow start, the company has emerged as one of the most visited social media sites. 

Huffman and Ohanian left Reddit in 2009 only to return five years later. Ohanian became the full-time executive chairman while Huffman became the company's chief executive. The company launched a new version in 2018.

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