Reddit warns moderators of the blacked-out subreddits

Emre Çitak
Jun 16, 2023
Updated • Jun 17, 2023

You must have heard about Reddit's recent API changes and their backlash on the community.

Certain subreddits have initiated blackouts on Reddit, protesting against the platform's plans to implement steep prices for its API. This move has sparked a clash between Reddit and its moderators, with the company threatening to replace resistant moderation teams to maintain accessibility for users. Let's delve into the details of this ongoing controversy.

Reddit has notified the moderators of blacked-out subreddits about its intention to replace the moderation teams. The company claims that this action is necessary to ensure that communities relied upon by thousands, or even millions, of users remain open and accessible. According to Reddit's Moderator Code of Conduct, moderators who do not comply and reopen their private subreddits will be removed from their positions.

Reddit blackout
Reddit blackout has led to an ongoing clash between Reddit and its moderators

Why are Redditors revolting?

Starting from Monday through Wednesday of this week, numerous popular subreddits participated in a blackout, either by going private or by halting new posts. The protest aimed to oppose planned API changes that would result in the shutdown of third-party Reddit apps, such as the popular Apollo app.

The blackout was an attempt to pressure Reddit into adopting fairer pricing for developers and granting them more time to adjust to the API changes. However, Reddit opted to wait out the protests instead of making immediate adjustments.

Extended blackouts and moderator discontent

As a response to Reddit's stance, certain subreddits, including r/Apple, have chosen to prolong their blackout indefinitely, as shared by r/Apple moderator @aaronp613 on Twitter:

This decision has left millions of Reddit users without access to these communities. Reddit's plan to forcibly end further blackouts by removing entire moderation teams has further intensified the discontent among moderators.

Reddit CEO's perspective

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman addressed the blackout protests, stating that they have not yet caused any significant impact on the company's revenue. While acknowledging the noise generated by the two-day protest, Huffman expressed confidence that it would eventually subside. He argued that Reddit's API was never designed to support third-party apps and that these apps do not add substantial value to the site. Huffman emphasized that Reddit developed its API primarily for internal tools, bots, and enhancements.

Huffman confirmed that the blackouts have had no influence on Reddit's API pricing plan. The company remains firm in its decision, stating that it will not reverse its business choice. In a recent interview, Huffman contradicted earlier messaging, asserting that Reddit will not force communities to reopen.

The clash continues

Reddit released a blog post outlining "key facts" about the API updates, emphasizing its respect for dissent, debate, and discussions within the platform. However, moderators and users remain dissatisfied with the unreasonably high API charges and the limited 30-day timeline provided to third-party developers for adapting to the new fees.

Developers, such as Christian Selig behind the Apollo app, have calculated that adopting the new API would cost them exorbitant amounts. Selig has decided to shut down his app on June 30, a day before Reddit's charges take effect. Consequently, there will be a scarcity of third-party apps available for accessing Reddit content, leaving users with the option of relying on the Reddit website or the official Reddit app.

Read alsoBest Reddit alternatives to look for after the blackout protests


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  1. Anonymous said on June 17, 2023 at 9:22 pm

    Reddit will become irrelevant. It’s only a matter of time. It won’t happen in one night, it took many years for Reddit to replace Digg. Many quality redditors have already left, more will follow after 1st July. Even people who don’t care willl eventually care when it starts affecting them. They won’t get the “fix” they used to get, so they will start looking for something else. Reddit will be eventually sold, I hope nodoby to be stupid enough to pay a lot for it.

  2. Mystique said on June 17, 2023 at 7:37 pm

    btw There are more and more reports of Reddit admins removing moderators from several subs now.
    Puppet mods (AKA Scabs) to come soon.

  3. Oxa said on June 17, 2023 at 3:52 pm

    “Why is Redditors begun their revolt?”

    I guess this article wasn’t written by AI.

  4. boris said on June 16, 2023 at 10:59 pm

    When I use reddit, I view it in desktop browser. I hate apps on small screens and I hate ads on those apps.

    1. Mystique said on June 17, 2023 at 8:17 am

      I prefer desktop too but also know that if Reddit will not stop at just crushing third party apps. They sold out and will do anything to please shareholders and turn it into a hugely invasive money making machine like the other social media networks or worse.

  5. Chris Pearton said on June 16, 2023 at 8:51 pm

    As a visually handicapped user, I have relied upon a third-party app to browse and comment in Reddit.
    This high-hsnded and unilateral decision will make it difficult and unpleasant to use Reddit.

    I am afraid Reddit will end up as one of the milestones of the history of teh interwebs, such as Geocities and Google+.

    A (former) long-term Redditor.

  6. Deddit said on June 16, 2023 at 8:34 pm

    Have you ever scrolled in Reddit on your computer, with an adblocker in your browser? You won’t have to scroll for too long before the counter on the adblocker icon reaches 4-5-600 blocked ads..and counting…. It’s a damn nightmare. Reddit’s GREED has taken over, and they are doing a “Google”, first become popular and something people are used to and THINK they need, then start screwing absolutely everybody for profit. Let’s all hope Reddit gets a swift kick in the nuts and dies.

  7. Mike said on June 16, 2023 at 7:07 pm

    As a website, going to war with and antagonizing your users is such a dumb thing to do. Unlike in the case of the entertainment industry, you do not have a perpetual, government granted monopoly on ideas, pop culture and what people want. No Star Wars, Star Trek, Halo, The Beatles, etc. As such, it is easy for users to just migrate away to another social media platform if they feel they’re being treated unfairly.

    That said, it is very fun and satisfying to watch Reddit unravel itself from a distance after all of the censorship and authoritarianism that has become the norm there over the past five years.

  8. Mystique said on June 16, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    This will only push people further away and anyone that stays is clearly not seeing the bigger picture here. It’s not just about one particular app or many its about a lot more but the funny thing is if you hadn’t seen or understood it before then it will only become clearer each and every time Reddit admins throw their weight around.

    In the meantime if you’re look for subs that may have moved over to lemmy or instances then this website may help.

    1. Mystique said on June 17, 2023 at 8:09 am

      I know people dislike Lemmy and that’s okay by me as long as you dislike it for the right reasons.

      I find the UI to be in need of a bit of work too but I have seen a lot worse. The great thing is that with increased popularity there has been increased development and additionally support.
      The hope is that it gets better. Reddit was not built overnight and neither will Lemmy or any other alternative you use.
      In two years time people may have settled in on something else completely but its important to stay up to date with things right now.

      Reddit may become Deaddit sooner than later if they keep this up.

      P.S. I have no doubt that a compact view will be made available in time. I’d be shocked if it didn’t.

    2. Anonymous said on June 16, 2023 at 10:48 pm

      Lemmy UI is ugly though. Hopefully there will be a more compact view option soon.

    3. John G. said on June 16, 2023 at 9:10 pm


      1. Vítor I said on June 17, 2023 at 3:01 am

        Extremists heaven, is that right?

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