Multiple subreddits and moderators are protesting Reddit’s API changes

Multiple subreddits and moderators are protesting Reddit’s API pricing changes that may shut down many third-party clients. Popular subreddits such as r/aww, r/video, r/Futurology, r/LifeHacks and r/bestof will go dark on June 12 to protest the company’s move. Separately, a moderator coordination on subreddit has written an open letter to Reddit saying these changes will have an adverse effect on how they manage their communities.

According to a post in a new subreddit called r/Save3rdPartyApps, many subreddits will go dark for 48 hours. That means there will be no activity in these communities. The post noted that some communities will “go away permanently unless the issue is adequately addressed.” It also mentions that the official Reddit app doesn’t have adequate moderation tools and if third-party apps providing them go away, moderators won’t be able to do their job.

The open letter on r/ModCoord subreddit echoes this sentiment.

“Many of us rely on third-party apps to manage our communities effectively. Let’s just rip the band-aid right off: in many cases, these apps offer superior mod tools, customization, streamlined interfaces, and other quality-of-life improvements that the official app does not offer. The potential loss of these services due to the pricing change would significantly impact our ability to moderate efficiently, thus negatively affecting the experience for users in our communities and for us as mods and users ourselves,” the letter says.

Additionally, the letter expresses concerns over Reddit’s new rules announced in April, which will shut off access to NSFW content through the API. Moderators wrote that this could mean that bots filtering some of this content might not be able to work properly.

Last week, iOS Reddit client Apollo’s developer Christian Selig posted about his call with Reddit and said that it would cost him nearly $20 million annually to run the app.

Over the weekend, a Reddit employee posted in the r/Redditdev community explaining that the number of calls per user depends on the app’s efficiency. And that in turn will determine how much developers have to pay for the API access. The Reddit employee accused Apollo of being an inefficient app as well.

“Apollo as an app is less efficient than its peers and at times has been excessive—probably because it has been free to be so,” the post reads.

In reply, Selig asked them for an explanation and said: “What inefficiencies Apollo is experiencing versus other apps, and not that it is just being used more?”

Third-party developers are already considering the next step for their apps as the new changes will be effective from July 1. For instance, Infinity for Reddit developer has already released a paid version to sustain the app. Meanwhile, according to a post, ReddPlanet developer plans to shut down the app by the month’s end.

According to data from Sensor Tower, Apollo has been downloaded 4 million times since 2021. In the same time frame, Android clients such as Boost for Reddit and Infity for Reddit have been downloaded more than 430,000 and 280,000 times respectively.