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Subreddits Go on Strike

Reddit BlackoutAs we discussed earlier, Reddit is changing their policies in order to thwart large AI models from vacuuming up vast amounts of human conversations to train models.  Reddit is doing this by charging substantial (some would say stratospheric) sums of money for access to its API.

While Big Tech might be able or even willing to fork over millions of dollars, small third-party apps cannot.  One of the most popular, Apollo, is shutting down at the of this month (citing an estimated $20 million bill from Reddit), and it’s not alone.

And Reddit’s userbase is not happy about this.

The Blackout

Today, thousands of subreddits are suddenly private.  This means that public users cannot access the sub.  Only those who have previously joined, or who are invited, are able to view or participate, snd in some cases they cannot create new threads.

This is a massive blow to Reddit’s lifeblood: new content and views.

Today if you google something and it’s a reddit link, there’s an excellent chance you’ll see a message like this:

Reddit Private sub

The list of subs that have gone private is huge.  This (public) post has a list which includes many of the most popular subs (some with 30 or 40 million users).  The media is reporting over 7,800 have gone dark as of this morning.  This tracking site reports over 8,000.

Or watch it all unfold on Twitch.

Some say they’re closed for 48 hours.  Some say indefinitely.  In some cases, subs are also blocking anyone from creating new threads except moderators.

The community has posted its “list of demands,” which mainly revolve around fair pricing for third party apps.  However, they point out some other issues that arise due to Reddit’s actions.  For example, accessibility issues with the official app means that blind users can’t use it.

How will all of this end?  Who knows.  Perhaps in a couple days everything will unwind and Reddit will go back to normal.  Perhaps some people will keep the subs private permanently.  Or maybe a lot of people will find other places to discuss that aren’t so ham-fisted (I can recommend one).

One thing’s for sure: it’s a bad day to be a Reddit exec.



  1. This whole situation got me to thinking: how much time do I lose a week trolling around reddit and answering questions? Way too much! I can use that time much wiser and have deleted my Reddit account. I already feel better and have gained me some time to working on a project:)

    Goodbye Reddit!

    June 12, 2023 @ 6:47 pm | Reply
  2. Balancing these concerns with the needs of third-party apps can be a complex task, and it seems that these recent changes by Reddit are having an impact on the app ecosystem.

    May 15, 2024 @ 5:52 am | Reply

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